IntoCoffinHP Lovecraft and death metal; an unnatural match made in…nuclear chaos. Or is it? I have to say in the past I’ve found the linking of the ideas to death metal average at best and inappropriate more often than not. Unless you are treating it just as ‘more pulp fiction’ Lovecraft’s unhinged originality had few traditional points of reference, dragging you out of your comfort zone and into a place where classical reality breaks down. Musically the best representations, deliberate or accidental, have been for me the shapeless disturbance of dark ambient Cryo Chamber collaborations and the downright unhinged and wrong – Portal, The Axis Of Perdition and Blut Aus Nord’s well over the edge ‘Mort’.

Enter the oddly named Into Coffin, from Germany. The cover sports floating Cthulhu heads, Anubis and pyramids and the beginning of the album, ‘The Entrance’ is a pretty unexpected and effective piece of dark ambience; sinister and shifting and at over four minutes much more than a mere slapped on intro. This slowly winds and drumbeats its way into ‘Stargate Path’, a solid, downtuned rumbling bit of traditional death metal. A less dense less complex Nile, something that reminds me of Yrkoon and with a sprinkling of the scant ‘normal’ bits of Portal, it it’s slow and ponderous but a little too familiar to be totally ominous. It is, however, a fine bit of primal death metal with gear shifts as smooth as you like despite the nice dirty guitars, rasped vocals and drumming like a well tuned v-twin. Rather cool in fact.

The epic title track slows things down further and we slide into elements of raw funeral doom bordering on sludge. It’s dark, relentless and nicely torturous. No, nothing new, and perhaps doesn’t explore its potential deeply enough for the sixteen minute running length but well done nonetheless with a few little twists to the guitar sounds if you listen hard.

‘The Deep Passage For The Infinity Of The Cosmos’ is even longer and begins with a tiny piece of ambience before the funereal, sludge-sparse repetitive and doomy riff and rhythm slithers in. It’s good as far as it goes but someone like Of Spire & Throne would have created an immense, cathedral like soundscape from this solid foundation but instead it is taken into another rumbling death metal train. Again it is good. This is fine doomy death metal as is the closer ‘Black Ascension’ and the cohesiveness of the band impresses me a lot. It is highly listenable but maybe it’s the implied subject matter that makes me think they are being too conservative, that there are ideas bubbling away in the blasphemous primordial sludge beneath the riffs that they could have explored, that their sound is so close to veering off into weird, heavy and uncharted waters that you just want to give them that extra push and encouragement to do so. As well as keeping their pumelling death metal I want them to respond to their love of texture and to explore the intensity of the ambient and the deafening potential of these quiet spaces and discordance that that currently use too tentatively.

Then I remember that this is their debut. Then I smile and nod and and think ‘yeah, good start guys, very good indeed’. If they take this sound into the weird and follow their leanings the next one could be special. Give them a listen.

(7/10 Gizmo)