Saturday, 2 November 2013

Coilguns - Commuters


It feels like I've been out of the game for too long!  The unplanned break has been useful, but recently I've found myself dying to write again and get listening to all the music I've been neglecting. I'm starting with the debut album from Coilguns. Now, Coilguns aren't a new band to This Noise Is Ours, having previously reviewed their early EP Stadia Rods along with their split record with NVRVD. This though, is a different prospect. Eleven songs and a guest appearance from  Keijo Niinima of Rotten Sound/Nasum. 

Tracklist:-

1. Commuters Pt.1
2. Commuters Pt.2
3. Hypnograms
4. Machines of Sleep
5. Plug-in Citizens
6. Submarine Warfare Anthem
7. Minkowski Manhattan Distance (feat. Keijo Niinima)
8. Blunderbuss Committee
9. 21 Almonds a Day
10. Flippists / Privateers
11. Earthians

Immediately, Coilguns launch into multi-layered technical metal with progressive time signatures, thick guitar and a clear production that brings out the grandeur of their sound. beginning with Commuters Part 1, they signal their intentions with a quick three minute blast, prior to the second part, which altogether more progressive.  The spoken word passages at the start of Commuters Part 2 brings to mind hip-hop at times, but fit perfectly against the drums and melodic, repeated riffs. As the bass enters the fray, the sound gets thicker. You get the feeling that the band are just slowly winding themselves up, waiting to burst into life. The anticipation is palpable. They keep building, the volume increases and the spoken word vocals start to crack and become angrier.  When Coilguns do hit full chat, it’s powerful and bass-heavy. 

Hypnograms highlights a further evolutionary step for Coilguns, with hints of jazz and even some clean singing. After a short while though they’re back and belting out more off-kilter metal. The next few songs, Hypnograms included, are briefer but heavier. Machines of Sleep is just brutal. It’s the heaviest song I’ve heard from these guys and it starts to hint at their hardcore influences. The growl’s are bowl-shaking and the guitar tone is earth shattering. They then switch tack for a few bars and the vocals turn toward the Deftones/Muse end of the spectrum. It’s impossible to even start to categorise Commuters in terms of a single sub-genre. Plug-In Citizens is fast with a punk-rock underbelly. There’s grind mixed in too, yet the riffs stay melodic. The awesomely named Submarine Warfare Anthem is chaotic and brings to mind Orchestra of Wolves era Gallows, thanks to it’s snotty attitude and tempo.

I think the variation in song-structures and ideas makes this album work really well, as you’re not sure what to expect from one song to the next and that makes things more interesting. When the drop happens during Minkowski Manhattan Distance, it brings to mind heaving, writhing bodies in the pit and has a raw energy that makes it all sound more primal. The addition of Keijo Niinima on guest vox is a masterstroke as his deep bellows fit perfectly against the backdrop of bludgeoning instrumentation. There are moments of brooding, haunting pleasure to be had during Commuters. Blunderbuss Committee may be an unlikely place for this to come from but the instrumental textures give you a break from the battering and the Moog is allowed to shine alongside some very off-kilter strings. It’s certainly a dramatic interlude.

The impacts made by 21 Almonds A Day and Flippists/Privateers are both immediate in their own way. 21 Almonds A Day is proggier and more experimental, while Flippists/Privateers is more punk in the opening bars, before descending into noisier territory. Ending it all with Earthians, Coilguns almost seem content with their output and set about closing the album with a song that’s more contemplative and slower. There have been so many twists and turns throughout Commuters that by now, you’ll either be worn out or ready for more. This album has built on their previous efforts and the experience gained from their live shows, sounding assured and focused. This will definitely leave a big impression on you and if you’ve not heard Coilguns before, this would be a great place to start. Breathtaking!

If you're not content with my thoughts above, you can stream the entire album here:-


You can also buy it from the same page in either digital, CD or vinyl format.

Coilguns Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/coilguns
Pelagic Records Website - http://pelagic-records.com

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