Once upon a time, genre descriptors mattered much less than they do today. Even now, when some folks look back on metal from its earliest days the music gets tagged with genres that simply didn’t exist at the time. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it can help those in search of a certain sound more easily wade through the myriad of acts slapping albums up into the ether. But there will always be those acts that defy conventional wisdom and hearken back to a time when how you described the music wasn’t as important as the sheer power and aggression found within the music. Enter Philadelphia’s Coffin Dust.
Make no mistakes about it – Coffin Dust are a death metal act first. But there may be no death metal act in the world that plucks their influences from the storied history of thrash metal like these guys do. Galloping rhythms, melodious guitar hooks, and vocals that aren’t afraid to crack the high note, despite spending most of their time in the proverbial gutter. Their newest album, Everything Is Dead is a triumph of successfully stitching back together two genres that were severed at the bone a long time ago, yet at one point they had similar ancestors – specifically Slayer and Possessed.
On each song, and from track to track, Coffin Dust seem to successfully dip back and forth between their thrash and death metal influences. They weave them with the care and precision of a serial killer sewing together that human flesh mask he’s taking out his next victim in. A track like “MetalStormFaceTheSlayer” of course reeks of the rotting corpses of some of the greatest Bay Area thrash acts (like the one covered on this song), complete with an epic, riff-led intro, headbanging melodies, and that aforementioned high-pitched vocal. Yet over top of it is the sinister growl of a man possessed. It’s in turn followed up by the power-hungry, title track, which despite an exceptional and somewhat melodic, tremolo-picked guitar solo, is a downright brutal endgame to this album. It’s that sort of one-two punch, often found within the parameters of a single song, that help make Coffin Dust stand out from a very crowded, and very talented pool of recent death metal acts clogging up the speakers of fans of the genre these days.
Everything Is Dead is filled with giddy madness from start to finish. For an album so swamped in death metal’s gore-soaked aesthetics, Coffin Dust are able to help resurrect the animated corpses of about 30+ years of heavy metal’s finest thrashers as well. Fans of both genres and all the acts before them that purposely or inadvertently crossed the streams should find plenty to sink their teeth into on this record.
Everything is Dead is due out on May 6 via Unholy Anarchy Records. You can check out the track “The Living Coffin” over at the Decibel website.