Even by the standards the NOLA inspired slow and heavy school of sludge, Flatcap Bastard Features is an ill-tempered record. The debut EP from Swamp Coffin is 34 minutes of utter rage and misery, with tar-drenched riffs and throat-shredded vocals in abundance, coming across as if Eyehategod had formed in Yorkshire. Yet that description only understates just how nasty Flatcap Bastard Features is; sure, there might be some of the groove and irresistible riffs that define this style of metal, but it’s far more belligerent than is the norm even for this most self-destructive of genres. And it’s no surprise, considering the personal circumstances of death, homelessness, and poor mental health that led to members looking for catharsis via the medium of volume and The Riff.
That desire for confronting personal demons comes through loud and clear, and it makes Flatcap Bastard Features a punishing listen; yet it’s not without flaws. There’s the sneaking suspicion throughout that you’ve heard some of these riffs before, and as convincing as the passion in the songs is, that doesn’t stop a feeling of familiarity being ever-present. Similarly, the songs would benefit from a little editing, especially ‘Black Shirt, Blacker Sabbath’ and ‘Last of the Summer Slime’ which, as excellent as their titles are, end up losing some of their impact simply because of their length.
Still, there’s no doubting that if you’re looking for just over a half-hour of catharsis through rage, you can do far worse than this EP. It’s an exercise in coping with a series of shit situations, and coming out the other side alive. In addition, considering it’s the band’s debut release, it demonstrates the potential Swamp Coffin clearly have.
Flatcap Bastard Features is out 23 August and can be purchased here.
Words: Stuart Wain.