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This three way split cd of Japanese bands has been out for some time as of this writing . Once again (I've reviewed other releases) anything that Japan's Coffins puts out is a must own in my book and this release is no different . After hearing just the title of this release: Doomed to Death, Damned in Hell I've often wondered how any fan of extreme Japanese music would not want to give this one a listen . Listen I have, multiple times, and I always come back for more . Of the three band's featured here Coffins, Grudge and Anatomia at least you know your getting a solid effort from the already established masterful doom-slingers Coffins . That was my thinking at least but this is more than just one band's effort and needs to be discussed accordingly .
First off is Anatomia formerly known as Transgressor . Now Ive heard Transgressor years and years ago because of a split 7" they were on with Impetigo that I own . They were a decent death metal band that I would listen to on occasion . Nothing was extremely unique about their style that kept me coming back for more on a any sort of a regular basis though, this is just the opposite . Anatomia are extremely heavy and sound like a Japanese Autopsy . I mean it's almost a perfect tribute to Autopsy in every single way . They have that chunky thick guitar sound and just like Autopsy their riffs are nothing short of perfect . The songs have that groovy evil bludgeoning appeal to them . The drummer is obviously a complete Chris Reifart worshipper and who isn't really . Even the vocals are in the vein of Autopsy . These catchy sludgy immediately addictive death metal anthems are a prefect compliment to all that is pure and great about the death metal scene . They don't kill you with speed, they don't murder you with effects, they are just pure straight-forward purveyors of the heaviest of heavy . This is not your normal underground band at all . While they are undoubtedly huge Autopsy fans and obvious worshipers of that band their way of making a song work is completely and uniquely their own . These are with out a doubt true believers in this brand of death metal because with out being completely submerged in the underground scene for years, both as a fan and as a band this would not come close to being this amazing . This stuff is bursting at the seams with a complete sense of conviction and an absolute unwavering dedication to all things indescribably heavy . All the songs are triumphs in their own right but I would have to say Severed Infant Waste is the real hidden gem here . Now all of Anatomia's efforts on this are truly amazing in their own right but this song has a groove and a feel to it that is a true masterpiece on it's own . The groove produced here is in another world . It almost has a snickering evil undertone of unmatched grimness and is complete with an all consuming hook that almost dares the listener not to play it multiple times in a row . Three minutes for this one track is just not enough and if you ever hear it you WILL remember what I'm talking about here . For me it is the undisputed champion from one of the most triumphantly evil sounding bands I have had the pleasure of hearing (and owning) in what seems like a lifetime . They truly possess that recorded in 1990 sound that many of us in the scene regard as the best days of the underground .Anatomia are Japanese death metal deities, worship them !
Now after the description of the Anatomia section of the split any band would most definitely be hard pressed to follow up to them and this holds true for Grudge . This band is very heavy and very sloppy . I personally don't mind when a band has a sloppiness to them as I feel it can undoubtedly add a charm and uniqueness if done correctly . This band can get on your nerves as it is almost industrial sounding at times and is loaded with a hollow sound . Once again I do love rawness but really how much can one take if it's played at the wrong time . You need to be in the mood to hear this band and if your not you will be running to unplug your stereo when this does come on . The guitar has a very raw (not black metal early Darkthrone raw) unappealing sound to it . It sounds shallow and rather abrasive at times also . It lacks that thick doomy bottom heaviness in the faster parts that would be needed to portray this sound correctly . Now I honestly don't know if this is a fair opinion based solely on this band's efforts or if I'm making this statement because it's sandwiched in between Anatomia and Coffins on this release . The voice can get annoying as well . It has a shallow loaded with reverb sound to it and moans groans and echoes tormentingly throughout . If this was a funeral doom band they would be dead on with their vibe but alas it is not so something or everything sounds a bit off here . The bass is indistinguishable which doesn't particularly bother me but may bother others that hear this band . In the overall picture though this is the listeners last problem on this . The drums I find to be the only enjoyable instrument on this as the slower parts of the arrangements are filled in nicely . When this band does speed up it gets very washed out sounding but the drummer is still quite good and keeps time nicely with a unique sound and talent of his own . I can understand on split releases how bands from differing genres and styles get together to make a particular release work but Grudge just doesn't do it for me here . Too much echo, too much sloppiness and an almost confusion (at least for this listener) at what type of sound they were really going for here makes this the low point of the split for me . Maybe if they just stayed with their doomy qualities and added a thicker guitar sound they would have been enjoyable on this but they didn't .
Onto the Coffins . Coffins for those that don't know are an amazing death/doom band that just just never seems to put out anything that is short of soul crushingly heavy . They have a ferocity to them that seems to be unmatched in the heavy department . The four songs offered on Doomed to Death are just that . The guitar and bass oozes a disgusted putrid almost indescribable heavy tone . The drums sound like cannons going off in your head as your slowly taken through the world of some of the most insanely heavy music ever produced . This trio of death dealers knows exactly how to crush and obliterate any notion one has of anything but the utmost brutal heaviness . This band is great and extremely (did I mention?) heavy . The appeal of the music contained here flows well with the rest of their endless discography . The guitar is tuned down to the point of the strings almost falling off the neck . They exude a death-like-doomy disgust within every second of their songs . Straight from hell doom and gloom with very catchy well earned tempo changes that never surpass a snails crawl . To play music this slow must be accomplished by at least utilizing two formula's: one the music must contain some sort of hook and two the band must believe in the music they are portraying . Coffins does both, and well . Four songs that are well produced and even a little cleaner sounding than on some of the other releases with a prominent bass sound as well . This is not as common of a sound as one would think from them although it works extremely well here . It's always good to hear a band even slightly change their sound on multiple releases as it tends to keep the music new and great all the while staying true-to-form . Who wants to hear a band that they once loved change their style I know I don't and it has happened to all of us too often I might add . Uchino's vocals still retain that guttural deep hellish feel and they are always a highlight with this band . Anything they ever have released has not (as of this writing ten releases) let me down in any way . This band seems to get better or at least stay just as amazing on any number of the demo's, albums or splits that they are a part of . Bands like this should be followed and appreciated for what they were and are; true underground fans that formed a band and are on an endless quest to make the heaviest sickest music ever . If you don't like this you don't like the underground ....PERIOD !!!!