Album: Coffin – EP
Thud. Thud. Thud. Trapped in a pine box planted six feet below the ground—almost as if a seed for some sapling of sinister darkness—the dirt piles on. With each plodding, deep thwump, your inevitable end—a reckoning of sorts—draws closer and closer as it becomes acrid and thick, tangible enough to deprive your lungs of the air they so desperately need. However, rather than terror climbing up your throat and shaping itself into a scream, you feel…at home. The more densely packed the soil surrounding your tomb becomes, the closer you begin to feel to solace. This is the impetus behind Coffin, the debut EP by Tennessee titans Reasons. Combining an invigorating, heart-felt spirit-filled message with simply demoralizing and destructive down-tempo aggression, Reasons are the very reason to not give up on the trending combination of aggressive beatdown and relentless deathcore which defines the down-tempo style.
The hypnotic rhythm of soil smacking against the solid wood of your casket forms a sort of beat—following a steady candor that bears its own unique dissonance; not unlike the instrumentation behind Reasons’ assault on the listener’s ears. Coffin is home to a somewhat unique array of abrasive, intense instrumental dynamics. From the opening, gut-shredding tone of the guitars on “Coffin, Pt. I,” the listener knows they’re about to be pressed against a life-sized cheese-grater and minced. The guitar throughout Coffin is nothing but the most wrenching and filth-laden fretwork that down-tempo deathcore has to offer—and it flows from the furious fingers of Josh Brian Owens. Owens’ dissonant shredding throughout every track on Reasons’ reckless, raunchy EP is simply oppressive—as it flows across a canvas of distinctly bi-polar percussion. “Father,” for instance combines constant gritty, gruesome guitar with drumming that ranges from slow and plodding—like the pace of a mammoth—to fast and lacerating blast beats that sound as if they may as well be machine gun fire. As if Owen’s guitar wasn’t low-and-slow enough, its lowest end is amplified by Wesford Venable’s vicious bass guitar. Together, these two create nothing but steamrolling, relentless heaviness that flattens the listener without a second thought.
Before long, you begin to put words to the beat generated by your steady breathing and thudding, ever-growing dirt pile sending you closer and closer to home. These words, however, are not words of woe and worry, but rather, ones shouting salvation—and they shout until your voice is gone and your throat raw. The vocals screamed forth by Logan Hayworth throughout Coffin drip of just that sort of passion. Whether it’s the catchy, brilliantly written “Coffin, Pt. I” or the emotionally intrusive and heart-rending sincerity behind “Mother,” Hayworth spills his guts and shreds his throat in order to connect with the listener. Using a shrill, Barrier-esque half-scream, half-shout, Hayworth provides syllable after syllable and line after line of faith-driven, heart-felt honesty. In this sense, while the musical scaffolding supporting Reasons is sharp, rusty and dangerous, the artist at their pinnacle is nothing short of a preacher.
As your hymn of solitary, surreal salvation goes on, picking up steam the further and further spaced the shovelfuls of soil-tinted serenity fall, you begin to find true peace. Your heart and head reach an equilibrium as your pulse slows and your mind finds peace. Just the same, Reasons create an equilibrium between heartfelt lyricism and heart-shredding instrumentation that is unique and immersive—not to mention completely effective. “Coffin”—both part one and part two—are perfect pictures of this. While the instrumentation weighs down upon the listener with limitless oppression and unfathomable density, the lyricism lends them an olive branch, offering salvation. This dynamic remains effective, even as portions of the EP seem under-mixed or faded; especially “Felo De Se,” which seems to be lacking in any sort of polish that might aid the band’s attempt at defining their sound. However, even in spite of these rough patches, Reasons still perform a tedious feat with incredible ease, putting forth a release that is unlike the works of their peers in the most refreshing way possible.
Even this, your darkest hour, seems to be the only source of light in the dark room that defines your past. Coffin is a homecoming for the listener—an embrace of crushing, inventive instrumentation with the warmth of immersive, poetic lyricism. Reasons impart a unique realization on the doomed listener–you have never felt more at home and alive than the seconds you’ve spent in your coffin, waiting to die.
For Fans Of: Barrier, Sworn In, Creations, Apex, Beacons
By: Connor Welsh