From Possessed to Cattle Decapitation, Autopsy to Winds of Plague, California has a rich and varied relationship with death metal stretching back to the genre’s inception. Whilst the finer details of the style have naturally mutated to include elements of other variations on the extreme music scene to create even more twisted variations, the power and fury have always remained.
A true reflection of this progression, ten-year veterans GoreSkinCoffin may feel like relative newcomers since they formed in 2011 from the ashes of fallen bands in their local scene, but they’ve racked up an impressive three albums (including this latest release) despite a six-year hiatus.
Overcoming personnel changes is never easy and with this album, the line-up has been juggled once more and new members recruited since 2018’s Cursed Paths EP to allow them to create what may be their strongest release to date, the savage seven-track Release My Suffering.
A confession, I have been an off and on lover of the death metal genre as I’ve felt, at times, it’s been through many peaks and throughs, benefitting far more from the flavours added by other styles. GoreSkinCoffin sprinkle their furious assault with elements of black metal and grind to keep the listener guessing, making this a short, sharp exercise in precision ultra-violence.
The Plague Father simply vomits forth pure filth after the introductory samples. As a showcase to highlight the abilities of all the members, the first half is a pure death metal workout with blast beats, humming guitar work, and vocals like Satan’s cat coughing up a hairball. The second half brings the black metal influences to bear a little more with Cody Winter’s vocals commanding and full of menace.
Released last year, the first single Wrath And Ruin is a rumbling, neck snapping death and grind laced piece of brutality. Dean Rice behind the kit is the star of this piece, as Animal like, he thrashes the kit to within an inch of its life. The third and title track takes the foot off the pedal (comparatively) for a muscular, mid-paced stomper that creates a brooding atmosphere which lays claim to more sinister designs, before It Will Not Die brings back the tempo.
To put aside the notion the band are just run of the mill ‘death heads’, the twin guitar attack of Dustin Stark and former bassist Justice Reckis trade leads and create harmonies that range from dazzling to emotively melodic. This sense of melody continues on Elegy For Mankind’s Failing and despite the seismic double bass, there is almost an air of symphonic black metal that permeates the track recalling Dimmu Borgir’s feral Puritanic Misanthropic Euphoria in its pomp and circumstance as Winter switches between glass gargling commands and full on bull roar. This continues on Defiant Misanthropy as GoreSkinCoffin continue their mission to relentlessly batter the listener.
With Release The Suffering, GoreskinCoffin look to position themselves as serious modern contenders in the death metal scene of 2022…
Finishing off with Lamentations For A Broken Age, they save their technical best for last. An impressive bout of lead work, and a beautiful underlying symphonic sweep, introduces just enough melody to stop the track appearing to be a standard death workout and not dropping the visceral snarl enough to be accused of pulling their punches.
With Release The Suffering, GoreskinCoffin look to position themselves as serious modern contenders in the death metal scene of 2022. They pull their influences from the bands that have gone before them, both modern and classic, whilst slowly trying to introduce their own personality, demanding that they’re not to be taken lightly.
At times there are moments that remind me of the departed Zykklon as they attempt to cross the aisle and lend a blackened edge to the proceeding, but then they juxtapose the clean, neo-classical stylings of the symphonic elements with the brevity and grit of intense grindcore.
Last year saw the release of some thoroughly top-notch death metal albums that rekindled my interest and with Carcass making one of their finest albums since their earlier, gore splattered career to these casual ears, the genre seems to have reignited the spark that I was longing for, making this a noteworthy addition.
Produced with knowing expertise, the band have captured the brute force required to make an impact, making it sound like it has the grime under the nails after a fistfight in a mortuary, while not drowning out or diluting the little sonic flavours, raising it beyond being just another notch on the board for the state of California, but ones to watch with interest as they progress.
On the strength of Release The Suffering I hope the band maintain this line up and get the chance to let this chemistry gel and develop further because after this worthy attempt, if the stars align, their next release will rip your fucking face off.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden