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I’m in a Coffin really are a strange band. Starting with the demo Buried Alive that received a universal backlashing and following it up with One Final Action that has strangely received universal acclaim all across the mark. I find this strange really, considering this isn’t much different from the Buried Alive demo. The same problems Buried Alive had have been carried over into One Final Action, yet for some reason people praise this to the skies. Why is this?
I guess it’s all about contrast really. When a band releases an utter putrid pile of faecal matter and then follow it up with something much better, people will automatically hype it to be something that it’s not, simply because the contrast between the two releases is so great. I’m not seeing that much of a difference from Buried Alive, the terrible vocals and lyrics, sub-par musicianship and generally underdeveloped attempt at the genre have been carried over. But compared to Buried Alive this shit is golden, it’s more developed and the band seems to handle their craft with a greater sense of confidence. At least I feel comfortable calling it depressive black metal now, just about anyway. The band seems to have a much better understanding of the genre, atmosphere created is thick and gloomy so the band seems to have fixed that problem they had with the first demo. It’s not as immature, a more controlled effort. Songs have much more flow, much heavier on the atmosphere. Although the vocals are still terrible, they don’t resort to crying and whining at any time which is good. They complement the music much more, allowing for a much stronger sense of emotion to come through, and thankfully not feeling incongruous with the musical backdrop.
Sure, it’s better than Buried Alive, but is it really that much better? I’m in a Coffin still suffer from major song writing problems, bass is too loud, completely obliterating all other instruments beneath them. Vocals in particular are pathetically bad, being a very strange wailing cry or something along those lines. I don’t really know how to describe them; they’re very strange along with the rest of this album. It doesn’t evoke a sense of depression or despair, but more a sense of teenage angst; with their melodramatic delivery and laughable lyrics did you really expect much else? The music as well is unintentionally hilarious, it tries so desperately to be dark and gloomy but overall just reeks of desperation. This kind of desperation turns most people off and I am no different, this band just isn’t comfortable doing this kind of thing. They try so hard to illicit an atmosphere of pure depression that the music just collapses in on itself. The atmosphere is thin, weak, although at times it can be suitably gloomy, whatever good moments the atmosphere invokes it’s buried in a sea of atmospherically bland and apathetic sludge. The whole album just gives off an aura of apathy, anhedonia and lack of interest, there’s no real effort put into the actual music, all the effort seems to have been placed into trying to illicit as powerful atmosphere as possible that they forgot how to actually write good music. A guitar, or more correctly the bass, trudges on at a lifeless pace; the riffs don’t really do anything, don’t go anywhere and don’t invoke an atmosphere. When you look at the music from an observational stand point, it comes increasingly difficult to see where all the praise is coming from.
So, One Final Action has bland song writing, ridiculous vocals and lyrics and a pathetically weak atmosphere yet for some reason people are digging this. I don’t really see how to be honest, I’m a huge fan of depressive black metal but this, this right here just hits a new low for me. It’s boring, cliché and ultimately uninteresting, ignore all the praise this album receives and get an actually good depressive black metal, like I don’t know, maybe Trist or someone. Anything has got to be better than this bass heavy drudge through apathetic depression. Way overrated, I’m in a Coffin are one of the most pathetic bands in the entire sub-genre, avoid this like the plague and invest your time in something worthwhile.
I'm in a Coffin is a truly strange group—an American black metal duo between two men who hide behind aliases wherein nothing is really known about them beyond the ridiculous pseudonyms "Adorable" and "Sad-ist", and the two accompanying respective photographs of both members which are of "Sad-ist": bearing a gash wound from self-inflicted cuts and bleeding into his bathroom sink and "Adorable" who is seen with half his face obscured with Cali sunshades as he sits in his living room with his dog on his lap while wearing swim trunks. Sounds real black metal, doesn't it?
Anyway, concerning the music. I'm in a Coffin have received ridiculous amounts of acclaim nearly everywhere on the Internet. Every review, remark and notice of the band is almost completely and always praised; especially on this album. Why is this, I do not know and I will probably never see fit into what others see into this record. Initially I heard the band's completely atrocious first demo, of which fans have also agreed is a putrid pile of shit, but kept this album on the highlight of being worthy of a quality DSBM release, which I honestly don't even see straying to far from their original sound, to be honest. The terrible lyrics, the awful vocals and the mediocre musicianship never kept me up on wanting to stay along and interested in this band or this album as much as someone would think I would enjoy it considering how much I enjoy the depressive black metal (DSBM) subgenre.
I completely adore sad music, I am a major fan of a good depressing atmosphere in any type of music which is how I drew in so quickly to a love for DSBM. There are several artists within the genre that have granted the presence of my iTunes library including Thy Light, Happy Days, Xasthur, Trist, Austere, Deep-pression and Woods of Desolation (along with a few others) but alas, my downloading of One Final Action did not see a stray fit in my library for long. By the end of the last song, I knew it had to be rid of and here I am to explain the flaws of this record that no one else seems to have an open eye for (according to what I've read on several music websites).
So here we are, the first track on this release "I'm a Weapon Against Myself"; the title alone sounds more like something that would be a groaning rap song than anything related to metal, but again let's not judge the band by anything else but the music (because believe me if I did so, their appearances would have put me off on the first three seconds). This song begins with a long intro coupled with light guitar riffs and a long sample from the beloved 80s comedy flick Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Once this sample ends, the music itself doesn't sound all to different from what it was in the intro initially. Just an added bass guitar, some typical and really standard drumming along with whiny vocals that come off like he might as well be crying out "woe is me, woe is me, woe is me" several times. His vocals are not only annoying but very strange like the rest of this band. The black metal rasp or scream is not here as much as it is expected to be (although he does use it occasionally). His main vocal style is more like a miserable yell, for this case and barely fits the music for that matter.
So considering how much I've been talking about the negatives for this record, is there anything I found good since apparently so many just go balls to the wall for this group? Well there are some parts that aren't as bad, I guess you can say. One thing I have to note that I did really enjoy about this release is the role that the bass guitar holds throughout the entire record and the fact that it's used as a lead instrument.
Traditionally in almost all music based upon rock and the genres grown off of rock such as metal and otherwise have the guitar as a lead instrument towering over the bass guitar. For I'm in a Coffin's case, those roles are reversed. The bass plays as a lead instrument while the guitars lay as a rhythm element. This is not only strange, but somehow captivating, thus increasing my overall score for this album because of this highly experimental and innovative technique that black metal probably has never visited before. The bass is produced louder than the guitars in this manner simply to give it that effect along with the fact that the guitars are extremely fuzzy while the bass lay in a clean produced atmosphere almost as if the two instruments sound like they were recorded in two different eras in two different studios. Bass sounds like it was recorded for the next Katy Perry single, while the guitar sounds like it was recorded in 1993 with a potato in Varg Vikernes' garage. This is the first black metal album I've ever heard to use a bass as a lead instrument over the guitars let alone it may also be the only one to exist.
Also, another pro I'd like to throw out right now is that the intro to "Wrist Deep in Depression" is pretty cool, the guitars are really classic black metal sounding, almost representing '90s Gorgoroth and if there's anything I can appreciate most about this release would be the way the bass guitar plays out in this whole album. The band even use a bit of synths in this song as well, if there's anything I'd have to sit through by this band, I wouldn't mind this song the most on this record; I just wish more songs by them were like this and I think I would actually have gotten to like them a whole lot more. Definitely not a bad song and Sad-ist's vocals are actually bearable throughout most of the track.
But it goes right back to mediocrity again right after this, sadly. "A Taste of the Abyss", while retaining good lyrics that I can personally relate to. It's far too of the same of the first initial problems I stated about this record with more repetitive musicianship and awful vocals, he even tries a bit of actual singing on this song, believe it or not. And it doesn't even stop at this song either, the band once more bring back a few more movie samples in the same vein of Happy Days (just not as executed as well) and more of the annoying vocals in larger doses. At least the instrumental tracks later on the record such as "Seas of Dead Infinity" serve as a breath of fresh air from these vocals (well of course, instrumental other than the movie samples that back the music of course).
I believe the main focus for this duo, if they ever intend on putting out a second release, would be to get with more on variation and not focus so much on how their vocalist sounds like he's about to cry on their songs. As for the movie samples, I don't mind them, but it just feels more like a Happy Days thing that other bands just seem to be ripping off left and right in this genre. And as for instruments, don't make the bass a lead instrument. It was an okay idea, but it gets too awkward sounding after so many songs. I love the sound of bass guitar and all, and I have played bass since I was 16, but here, it just doesn't work throughout. Overall, this release isn't terrible, but definitely not something I would be proud of adding to my record collection, especially considering how picky I am on certain genres. Consider going for Thy Light's Suici.De.pression release if you want an absolutely mindblowing introduction to the depressive black metal movement. I'm in a Coffin, on the other hand, definitely is not for new listeners of this genre.
It was the philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, who said poetry is a “darkening of being”. The poetical and general aesthetical is to be found everywhere and it is important to remember that these days art is not so much visible anymore – there is no direct message that is communicated, rather it relies much more on subjective expression, abstract concepts, the ontological question concerning alternative realities etc. This is precisely what I picked up while listening to this album.
From the very first note, you can hear, feel and sense the “darkening of being”. It is very intensive from the start right through to the end. The vocals are very haunting and there is a general minimalist approach with this album – the band does not rely very strongly on the thundering of instruments. In contrast to most other modern day metal bands, the drums are quite soft and gentle. The bass is very prominent, while the guitar is a bit more on the background, yet still clearly present. This band actually proves that you can do a lot with very little. They are not trying to manipulate the listener with loudness and all sorts of bombastic concepts. Rather, they place their full emphasis and focus on emotion, which is precisely what music is supposed to be – something that addresses the emotional states of the human being.
Instead of seeing it as an album with individual tracks, this album is rather a coherent force that takes the listener on one hell of an emotional journey. The way in which every track starts is also very gripping, since the music has a dark aura that complements the horrific and painful screams of the vocalist. I think the feature of this album that I appreciate the most, is the honesty. This band does not want to conform to a specific cluster where they are polishing their egos. Rather, they want to dwell within the honest expression of emotion and stream of consciousness.
It is almost as if the vocalist is emptying himself of every drop of blood. He reincarnates as a being whose heart is pumping raw, black streams of suicide and depression. The speakers or the headphones over which you are listening transforms into the jaws of the abyss – spewing and vomiting an odyssey of unimaginable pain.
It is also as if the sound in general has a symbolic value concerning the distanced distortion – just as the muffled distortion is an anomaly which feels cold and distant, so the emotional plains of despair is a cold and distant dimension where the only solution is suicide.
This is indeed a masterpiece!
Throughout my life, especially in my early teens, I dealt with truckloads of depression and suicidal thoughts. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has struggled with it before, considering the deaths I’ve had to deal with throughout my life thus far. In the end of it all, after I’ve grown up and realize that the life I was given is beyond decent and not as shitty as I once thought, some things still make me want to bury myself alive six feet under. It’s not even that I want to blow my brains out or hang myself from a skyscraper, I just want to live in a coffin, that simple. I’m In A Coffin is a black metal outfit that grabbed my attention after a friend recommended them to me. Coming from parts unknown in the United States, a silly band name and some of the most unoriginal track titles that I’ve seen in a long time, I’m In A Coffin is less of a joke and more of a realization that depressive/suicidal black metal lives with the heart of an iron giant.
So, what do you get when you listen to I’m In A Coffin’s debut full-length that was released back in 2008? You actually get the feeling that you’ve set up shop inside of a fucking coffin. “One Final Action” is such a very powerful record that can alter the bright mood you might be in or it can assist you in helping others commit suicide in various ways. The down-tempo, nineteen-eighties gloom from the tomb riffs that “Adorable”, (yes, the person goes by that name), produces are the same I would expect to find while I was stalking a graveyard for my next victim. As haunting and creepy as the guitar is, the bass is what sets everything up in perfect alignment. It’s the “icing on the cake” if you will when it comes to instrumental work on “One Final Action”.
“Sad-ist”, the vocalist/bassist for this roller-coaster of an outfit, delivers chords that soar over everything else on this record and some vocal work that will creep you the fuck out. His vocals aren’t your average black metal style, they have more of this feeling that “Sad-ist” is being choked as he screams the lyrics, even sometimes whimpering it sounds like. While he swims in his own self-loathing and depression, you also get the feeling that something is missing from his heart. Concerned for his missing counterpart, “Sad-ist” opens up his chest for you to diagnose what is wrong with him in his lyrics.
"My continued existence is worse than death, Yet I still live on. Trying to force apathy upon myself. To replace my depression with numbness. I tell myself that it’s worked…That I don’t feel anything anymore…But deep down, I know that I’ll never. Be anything resembling “positive”. Life is my coffin and it’s time to shut the lid. One final action, And this will all end…One final action and this will all end…One final action…I can’t fight the inevitable…So I embrace it…Embrace suicide…I want to die alone and cold, and hating myself for every moment of hope that I ever had."
So, as the great Georg Christoph Lichtenberg once said:
"Here take back the stuff that I am, nature, knead it back into the dough of being, make of me a bush, a cloud, whatever you will, even a man, only no longer make me."
Forget everything you’ve known and everything you will learn, just know that I’m In A Coffin is something very real, something worth a long, hard stare and something that will make you think twice about depressive/suicidal black metal. Oh, remember, if you need me, I’ll be buried someone in Van Buren, Arkansas, living inside of a coffin.
Originally written for: http://bloodorlove.domesticgenocide.com/
If you ever take the time to look at your life, and you believe that your thoughts provoke melancholy or dejection, then One Final Action just might be the audible form of Depression. The DSBM scene these days is according to some people, "degenerating" or becoming the new Deathcore. If this is true then I hope new DSBM sounds like I'm In a Coffin, because you just might be hearing the future of black metal.
For those of you who have been unfortunate enough to listen to that appalling demo "Buried Alive" Most of you would probably not even want to ever hear IIAC 's name again, I didn't for a while. Everything about Buried Alive in my opinion sounded terrible, especially So Numb, So dead; It was depressing in the way that I knew if I listened to it any longer I'd probably kill myself from how atrocious it sounds.
If you're lenient towards IIAC however, then you might just listen to one of the greatest DSBM album ever. You will first notice IIAC has a knack in adding samples to the beginning of tracks, while it might at first be a turn off, it quickly becomes clear that the samples perfectly harmonize with the music. Another Thing you will notice is the very powerful bass guitar. It almost drowns out the fuzzy guitar that usually just floats along with the bass playing simple chords, although there are a few guitar solos believe it or not. Speaking off bass this One Final Action almost completely lacks any bass drumming, thanks to the Drum machine. The drumming itself is very simple and stripped down. It usually plays simple 4X4 rhythms, but it is strangely suiting to the album.
The one thing that stands out in my mind is definitely the vocals. I have never heard anything like it. It does not sound like a guy in some Scandinavian forest. It does not sound like a Malefic style "echo from death," and it certainly does not sound like emo Morbid from Happy Days. Imagine more like Silencer, minus the old lady sound to the voice and substitute it with pure anguish. Even if in reality IIAC is a total joke band, they still give off an eerie effect of gloominess that in my opinion, Trist is the only comparable band
I would talk about each song word by word, but I want whoever is reading this to download, or better yet buy the album. I think there is still a few left on Ebay somewhere. This is easily one of my most cherished albums, and I recommend this album to any fan of music, for this is as close to perfection as it gets.
"Once A Man Realizes How Futile Life Truly Is, Depression Is The Only Reality He Knows For Depression Is The Only True Reality"
I'm In A Coffin should, no, *deserve* to be crowned The Kings of Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal. Their music has the power to actually physically unsettle people, to genuinely affect the mood of the listener. If you were already feeling a little bit glum, putting this album on play might just cause you to degenerate into a sobbing, self-loathing wreck. The sheer level of emotion and apparent insanity injected into every track on this album, cannot even be found within the works of the heavy-hitters of the DSBM scene, such as Lifelover, Happy Days, Thy Light or Silencer.
IIAC's particular blend of down-tempo, drop-b guitars, slow and tortured drumming, seemingly perfected by the issue of their first demo, Buried Alive, are found to be almost exactly the same upon this release, but don't get me wrong, that is certainly not a bad thing. However, IIAC's key feature is the vocals.
NOTHING I have ever heard manages to evoke such a range of negative emotion as Sad-ist's voice. Ranging from genuinely disturbed sounding clean vocals, to primal screams that sound like a human being who is genuinely in pain baring his soul on record, to the eerie and haunting, and sometimes even sickly melodic delivery of certain lines which make the entire album worth listening to.
Just to re-cap, to add emphasis, the vocals alone make the *entire* album worth a listen. Factor in the beautifully arranged (in a sad way) guitars, the constant atmosphere of hatred and despair, and you have a recipe for what I already beleive to be album of the year. The only reason it doesnt deserve 100 is because, unfortunately, it had to end.