DOOM METAL OF DEATH! That’s the definition Uncoffined have (anti)christened their particular deadly strain of doom, and on their debut LP ‘Ritual Death And Funeral Rites‘ that’s exactly what they deliver. The death-doom genre has experienced something of a revival recently, what with genre-defining bands like Autopsy and Asphyx back together and churning out new slabs of filth with terrifying regularity, and prolific underground acts like Coffins and Hooded Menace seeing their latest albums released on Relapse, it’s great to see such a relatively obscure sub-genre thriving.
The sample from ‘The Plague Of The Zombies’ that introduces opening track ‘Twisted Shape Of Creeping Terror’ sets the old-school Hammer Horror tone that so many of the classic doom bands employ, and with an Autopsy-referencing track name, you kind of know what to expect. However, when the decrepit drag of the riff begins it’s a much more languid sound than you might expect, definitely falling on the doomier end of the spectrum, more akin to the barbaric battery of Winter than the frenzied attack of Autopsy.
I hate to endlessly reference other bands like this, but when the influences are worn so boldly it’s kind of inevitable that such comparisons will be made, and I’m sure drummer/vocalist Kat Shevil won’t mind her percussive assault and putrid growls being likened to Chris Reifert’s! The undead-centric lyrics of the track are suitably appropriate to the music, the horrifying shamble of the undead set to a slowly oozing (de)composition. Lovely stuff.
More Hammer worship signals the beginning of ‘Night Of The Witch Childe’, this time with a sample from ‘The Devil Rides Out’ before the churning riff kicks in, Kat’s vocals expelled as if through exorcism. This track displays a dynamism reminiscent of Celtic Frost, alternating between up-tempo chug and downbeat corrosion, and there’s even an “ugh!” thrown in there for good measure.
The title track is pure doom, the main riff dragging you down further and further with each repetition, and when the downright soulful guitar solo wails out of the speakers halfway through, it’s in stark contrast with the unwavering soul-crushing despair that permeates the rest of the track. The lack of variation in the song works surprisingly well, you truly feel like you cannot escape the endless downward spiralling of the main motif, to the point it becomes maddening.
‘Blasphemous Execration Of Holy Ground’ sticks to much the same formula, adhering to trudging rhythms, deathrattle vocals, and plenty of riffs from the Tom G Warrior school of tonality, and while it may not be the most original sound, Uncoffined conjure up an appropriately haunting atmosphere that so many bands lack. Low and slow alone does not good doom make, and this album is so much more than just that, it will send a chill up your spine more than once per track. For instance, there’s a riff in ‘The Devil And The Old Cursed Tree’ that sounds like what would happen if you locked all the best ’90s sludge bands in an insane asylum together with nothing but a bucket full of mescaline and an endless loop of Satanic ’60s horror to keep them occupied. Yeah, that good.
The closing track of the album is a cover of a pretty obscure track, ‘Frustrations’ by Maryland doom OGs Revelation. Foregoing the more traditional vocal style found on the original, Uncoffined‘s version is a far more fearsome proposition, with Kat injecting a heavy dose of venom into her death growls, and guitarists Glynn Hall and Johnny Rot wrenching haunting, warbling notes from their strings. Despite being a cover it sits perfectly with the rest of the band’s material, and is a suitably eerie end to an album chock full of creepy moments.
Uncoffined are just one of many bands spreading the repulsive gospel of death-doom, but the morbid tales heard on ‘Ritual Death And Funeral Rites‘ mark them as being one of the best. Don’t hesitate to pick up this album, and doom yourself to death!
Scribed by: Ross McKendrick