Review: Noothgrush + Coffins – Split

Midway through Noothgrush, I feel like I’m trying to walk uphill in chainmail. Each step is a very deliberate upheave of flesh and iron, and each subsequent stomp is an ecstatic relief in gravity and fracturing impact; a constant cycle of agonising muscular retraction and gushes of euphoric alleviation, lumbering upward helplessly toward an unseen summit, pushed to the precipice of collapse by the opposing forces that render movement so conscious and lethargic. There’s no grit or serration here, and the band’s menace is one of smooth, steel-hammered density rather than friction and shredded skin – a rock ‘n’ roll slowed so that every resonant string feels like a titanium sheet pressed down on top of me, coupled with the reverberant screams of exasperation and fatigue.

In contrast, Coffins are a jumble of jagged edges: saw-toothed power chords, wayward cymbal hiss. Sometimes they wade slowly through a sea of naked blades – indulging in each deep and dirty incision – and sometimes they gallop mindlessly into their own noise, oblivious to the upward rub of detuned guitars and occasional pedal board buzz. Just as with Noothgrush, there’s a certain sass to their sound that brings to mind all the swagger and bombast of old school heavy metal, and rather than drag themselves and their listeners into an inescapable misery vortex, both bands elicit a positive love for the explosive, white-knuckle experience of playing this stuff at high volume.