Sunday, January 4, 2009

Vacant Coffin - Sewer Skullpture (2008)

My immediate thought upon seeing this album was about how much it made me think of retro acts that have been showing up lately. Well, lo and behold, Vacant Coffin features members from Phlegethon and Hooded Menace, which means that they take up both ends of the spectrum. Their latest foray into the good old days just drills it in even more - they sure as fuck know their retro.

If the band's cheesily killer album name, song titles, and art haven't beaten this into your head yet, the 80s horror intro that opens the album leaves no question that Vacant Coffin are here to scare all the kids off of your lawn. Downtune those guitars! More! With songs lasting anywhere from 50 seconds to 4 minutes, Sewer Skullpture is a thousand-spoon sample of everything that used to make death metal and grindcore awesome. These songs brood, they stalk, they trudge and rampage. They're sometimes melodic, sometimes pummeling, always heavy as corpseflesh. The drums have that old punk catchiness to them, the vocals eschew pig cacophinations for real brutality. But, in the end, amongst all the other things I could say about this album, Vacant Coffin do the one thing that they needed to - they know evil. They play evil. From the Carcass-munching riffs of "Cadaver Sculptor" to the howling Bolt Thrown guitar lead that shows up briefly in "Pulled Into the Lake (Of the Dead)", each song is a calm, composed declaration of your immediate dismemberment and future as chicken-fried steak.

Sewer Skullpture has no amateur mistakes. There is no evidence left at the scene in frantic uncertainty; no uncertain alibis or hastily ditched bodies to break the story. I'm slightly wary of giving a retro band the highest mark, but Vacant Coffin have regurgitated all of my old lovers into one glorious sculpture, and it's a masterpiece that I can't refuse.

Oh, and I love the song title "They Died Hungry...They're back Starving!".

Verdict: Epic Win [5/5]

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