Review by Alex on January 11, 2019.
Usually when it comes to stoner doom I'm very reluctant, in some cases it’s immediately dismissed without second thought. That’s because I find the genre to have a somewhat laid-back “whatever” approach which I’m not a fan of. There have been some exceptional bands in this line of music that have been putting out records that are impressive musically and subject-wise particularly within the past few years. But with so many bands filling the stoner doom metal scene without trying to innovate, it becomes harder to pick-out those that do have something interesting to offer, either with the subjects discussed, musical intrigue or both. Tombtoker answers to the challenge of taking the death/doom metal form and blending it effectively with both traditional doom, stoner doom and even punk metal plus many more. With that and some interesting themes surrounding disastrous biological experimentation, I was easily captivated.
It’s great to see another band refusing to cage themselves in by conforming to the norms and stereotypes of the genre. With so many regurgitating the same sound, listening becomes a blandly excruciating experience; but with Coffin Texts it’s the opposite, as I have listened to it countless times in one day. Tombtoker’s style is unpredictable on Coffin Texts; though only an Ep, it adeptly arranges diverse sections with sensible transitions. The guitar playing is superb in handling multiple techniques thus giving a varied and memorable performance throughout the record. The traditional fuzzy sound is there, but it never interferes with the balance of the record's mix or override the other instruments and vocals. The bass and drumming are great as well in being able to keep up with the interchanging styles. And the vocal approach adds a complexion that favors the genre-juggling and concepts explored.
You get the first few musical notes of “Warfare Revolution” and think to yourself ‘this is stoner doom’; then surprisingly you're hit by hawking yaps and mid-ranged gutturals followed by stoner rock-guitar and punk metal vocals that almost repaints the initial idea proposed by the band regarding their sound. You can hear plenty of that on “Robo Cujo” that blends crossover thrash with psychedelic doom metal/rock; and being one of the stronger recordings, it's only followed by more absorbing romances. It's displayed by Tombtoker that they are diligent at summoning attention and preserving it as time progresses on Coffin Texts. It’s easily discouraging to any listener by having so many influences reside in the makeup of a band’s sound; but if properly applied, the final result may be overly pleasing. In Tombtoker’s case, Coffin Texts has so many surprises expertly inserted that it’s impossible not to notice. “Stenchsquatch” is the highlight of Coffin Texts; it’s the song on the record that brings everything together, and being situated in the middle of the Ep adds to the feeling of completion to the record. “Stenchsquatch” has the best hooks, riffs and momentum control. It’s a pure gold-standard type of song, a real ear catcher this one. Coffin Texts is a mighty javelin toss of a record, one that sets a higher standard in challenging the future of the genre. This record should be celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the underground metal scene for its overwhelming success in mixing so many influences effectively thus creating something satisfyingly different.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10