In the January installment of our monthly metal column the Black Market, Stereogum contributor Aaron Lariviere wrote the following of 2014’s then-emerging storylines: “Only one month in, this year should be too young for trends to reveal themselves, but the narrative already looks clear: This is the year of hideous sludge.” Here he was writing specifically about Chicago band Indian, but mentioned in the same breath the forthcoming releases from Thou, Lord Mantis, and Coffinworm.
I largely agree — I haven’t heard the Lord Mantis LP in full yet, but I’ll say this about each of the other three bands mentioned above: By year’s end, they’ll all have released records that are in the conversation for best metal album of 2014. Indian’s From All Purity dropped in January, and next in line is Indianapolis sludge-doom band Coffinworm’s crushing IV.I.VIII, a track from which I wrote about in that Black Market. As I said in that space:
Coffinworm came to immediate prominence in 2009, when their first-ever recording, the Great Bringer Of Night demo, somehow wound up getting reviewed by Decibel (among others), who gave it a 9/10 score and called it the best demo of the year. Soon afterward, the band signed with the pioneering Canadian label Profound Lore (Agalloch, YOB, Krallice), who released Coffinworm’s debut LP, When All Became None, a brutal, scathing, hallucinatory record that somehow still found room for melody and craft. That was 2010. They toured sporadically — I saw them in 2011, at the release party for Disma’s celebrated Towards The Megalith, and frankly, Coffinworm blew the guests of honor off the stage. And now, nearly four full years since the release of When All Became None, Coffinworm are set to drop their sophomore LP, IV.I.VIII. It’s the best thing I’ve heard from the band — it’s doomier, blacker, more confident, more engulfing. Like the debut, it’s produced and engineered by Sanford Parker (Twilight, Nachtmystium) who keeps the instrumentation articulate, while the sound is both spacious and suffocating. Vocalist Dave Britts has one of the most powerful, paint-peeling sludge-roars I’ve ever heard, and here, it sounds like nothing so much as the howling, inescapable void.
We’ve got IV.I.VIII for you to stream in full today, and I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s a punishing, exhilarating experience. Listen.
IV.I.VIII is out 3/18 via Profound Lore.