Roughly three years after the release of their debut album, LAW, Hot Coffin have returned to redefine themselves with this self-titled album featuring Chris Chuzles as their new vocalist. With a run-time of less than 30 minutes, it’s tempting to peg this as an EP, but having eight tracks squashed into that duration gives them some lee-way with the format sticklers. As you might expect from that time-tracks ratio, the songs have a strong punk component to their delivery, with grimy-sounding chords and crusty vocals backed by solid (and surprisingly fluid) drumming along with workhorse bass. The group also does a good job of keeping anyone from stealing too much of the spotlight or being pushed into periphery.
There are a few aspects to the group’s sound that seem a bit underdeveloped, starting with the inclusion of sludge as a core part of their musical make-up. To my ears, the closest they came to getting sludgy was having a kind of sloppy mix, as most of the songs pop along too quickly to build up any of the wallowing misanthropy so common to that genre. Noticeably, there was also a lack of feedback, another common trait in sludge. On a similar line, outside of some buzz-pedal FX and a few math-inclined break-downs, there didn’t seem to be that much holding up their noise rock claims. What WAS there (in my opinion) was some grungy modern punk with a slosh of dirty rock; totally enjoyable on its own merits, but a mix which may surprise anyone who’s taken the hype around this release at face value.
Fans of emerging groups such as Milk Duct Tape, Queen Chief, and Escape Is Not Freedom will probably want to check this out, along with those who just enjoy hearing chunky riffs played with attitude in a non-sterilized musical environment. There’s enough meat to the songs that replays won’t wear thin too fast, but that’s balanced against being persistently lively to the point of near-manic. A fun ride, as long as you have the disposition to go with their crassness.