You could be forgiven for taking a cursory glance at the cover of the new Coffins record and thinking you’ve got a reasonable idea of what’s going on inside. Flip it over and a scan of the eight song titles would just about confirm what you know. It is a fair point when looking through a track listing that it reads like angry adolescent poetry, and the opening moments of first song, Terminate by Own Prophecy, would have you believe Coffins have produced a fairly standard, mid-paced Death Metal record.
However, for all its guttural vocals, double bass drumming and squealing guitar, you get a sense that there’s something else lurking in the shadows. Beyond the breakdown you suddenly find yourself confronted by some classic rock-inspired guitar. Terminate by Own Prophecy is probably the most straight-forward track on Beyond the Circular Demise and lays down a solid foundation for the rest of the album.
There’s a huge Bolt Thrower influence present across the record. Tracks like Impuritious Minds, Insane and Birth Postmortem all have the Bolt Thrower feel, with The Tranquil End having the infectious groove of The Killchain or Cenotaph.
Although an undisputed mid-paced Death Metal record, Coffins use slow pace and sluggish riffage to counter the speed, with the tracks Forgotten Cemetery and Hour of Execution mixing the glacially slow with intense tempos. There are moments during Hour of Execution when the spirit of Morbid Angel, circa Blessed Are the Sick, is invoked.
Not content with simply shaping mid-paced Death Metal for their own ends on Beyond the Circular Demise, Coffins have liberally utilised classic rock riffs and solos to make their point. Both Insane and Birth Postmortem have moments in which the distorted intensity fades and the classic rock influence shows through. All of these ideas and themes are coalesced in the closing track, Gateway to Dystopia, a nearly nine- minute confirmation of all that had gone before.
With Beyond the Circular Demise Coffins have delivered a record which is never predicable and continually surprises and which would look disdainfully on those who would judge it merely on its cover or it song titles.