C.O.F.F.I.N. Australia Stops LP

I imagine this is a big deal to a lot of people. It’s classically Australian in many ways. It’s driving. It’s melodic. It’s intense. It’s furious. It’s unrelenting. But more than anything, it’s rock’n’roll. At times, the pace is mild. Other times, it gets quite quick. At times, it’s like AC/DC. Other times it’s like MOTÖRHEAD, particularly with the snarly, growling vocals. There’s a lot to like about this record. On the flipside, at least for me, it’s a little too rock’n’roll. I could use a little more punk. I could use a little less extracurricular lead guitar work. I realize for a lot of people, neither of things are drawbacks. I’d love to see these guys in a small bar in the middle of nowhere.

C.O.F.F.I.N. / Mini Skirt split EP

A fantastic split between two Australian punk bands. MINI SKIRT is up first with a very bass-driven style. The vocals come off monotone at times, but there’s something I really like about them. They feel authentic and sincere, especially on “Bag of Bones,” which appears to be a love song. Feels similar to Frankie Stubbs of LEATHERFACE. MINI SKIRT can be a little repetitive at times, but again, it works for them. C.O.F.F.I.N has a very different dynamic. Guitar-driven tracks with a vocalist that could be described as a punk rock MEAT LOAF. Very theatrical, especially when the piano lead comes in on “Under Your Wing.” This split works because the bands sound different enough to keep it fresh, but similar enough that you’ll be happy with both sides if you dig this sound.

C.O.F.F.I.N. Children of Finland Fighting in Norway LP

Here’s a band that does the sleaze-rock-meets-heavy-metal sound with some actual flair—not to mention brains. From track one, you know what you’re in for, as whining dog leads and the classic “slam on the piano” riff set the stage for rhythmic pyrotechnics and lead singer Ben Portnoy’s incredibly commanding growl. This band raises hell in a way most rock bands forget how to, and they don’t sound the least bit stale for all their reference (and reverence) to the hazy halls of hallowed rock that came before. Part of what makes the formula so fresh is that there’s clearly more thinking going on than the group might want to let on at first. Take some of the lyrics from ripper “Cecila”: “Volunteer your story to your new chosen friend / Treat it like a rag through the back of your head / Follow suit, dirty the bowl / Dread dripping from your pockets as you power home.” That’s practically out of a novel for my money, and it lends serious pathos to a record that’s more than just a good time (although it is also most certainly that). Unreal record. Stone classic that breathes smoke and pukes fire.