Review: “Coffinized” by The Absence

After an initial run of three well received albums between 2005 and 2010, The Absence took near seven year hiatus as seasoned musicians with other projects on the back burner. Returning in 2016 with their fourth studio album and a new line up comprising vocalist Jamie Stewart (also of Hot Graves), drummer Jeramie Kling (also of Venom Inc), bassist Mike Leon (also of Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy) and guitarist Taylor Nordberg (also in Massacre) for “A Gift For The Obsessed” and known for heart-wrenching melodies and skull-pounding aggression, it didn’t disappoint, giving the band the opportunity to tour with Deicide, Origin, Jungle Rot, Exmortus and Hatchet. Second guitarist Joey Concepcion was also a member of the band then, this time out he appears on just four tracks, his position now unknown. “Coffinized” was produced and engineered by Kling and Nordberg and mixed by Kling before being mastered by Jonas Kjellgren (Immortal, Overkill, Scar Symmetry) at Sweden’s Black Lounge Studios.

Melodic Death Metal is the name of the game and with the blistering riffs and intricate solos of the title track opener, it is easy to see why The Absence had such a good initial run, this work the food and drink of the generation that first experienced Metalcore in 2003; the Florida residence remain purveyors of Scandinavian inspired Melodic Death Metal with a lethal dose of Thrash in the mix. As a band, they have always worn those influences on their sleeves and there are times when the Gothenburg sound rises to the surface, most notably on “Choirs of Sickness” which sounds like it belongs on “Slaughter Of The Soul” by At The Gates as Stewart roars “Symphony of the Slaughterhouse!“. But lets be clear, this band are no pale imitation, they’re living on legacies but instead have managed to create something that sounds like a mature offering from an older band despite those nostalgic look backs, this isn’t Metalcore by numbers. Instead each cut is packed with furious intent, razor sharp riffs and galloping percussive sounds as the band roar like a Harley Davidson letting the throttle out down empty roads in the dead of night and while it does suffer from a certain amount of momentum loss in the second half there is still plenty of quality on show to keep you fully engaged. It becomes pretty obvious as the album plays out that the mixing was done by a member of the rhythm section as both the bass and drums are prominent in the mix, Kling’s performance being a powerhouse one throughout, “Black Providence” being a particular stand out. Despite plenty of opportunity with all slick melodic and harmonic leads, it warms the soul that Stewart sticks to his guns with a snarling vocal style rather than selling his soul with some clean vocals. He’s pretty much a poster boy for the style of vocalist that would suit Death Metal and Thrash with a raspy dry roar over the frenetic onslaught the band provide on the likes of “Discordia“; if he was announced as the new vocalist for a band like Exodus, there could be no complaints. The Absence remain a cultured and accomplished band who have plenty to offer with polished and punchy cuts that make getting into a sweaty mess in a circle pit a real enjoyable experience. They may not be re-inventing the wheel or pushing any boundary envelopes but then they don’t need to; if this had come out in 2003 they would be considered the stuff of legend, whereas now they simply get you in a headlock and run head first into traffic [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Coffinized
  2. Future Terminal
  3. Choirs of Sickness
  4. Radiant Devestation
  5. Cathedral Dawn
  6. Black Providence
  7. Discordia
  8. Treacherous
  9. This Consuming Nocturne
  10. Aperture Expands
  11. Faith in Uncreation

Coffinized” by The Absence is out 25th June via M-Theory Audio and is available over at bandcamp

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