Reviewed: [July 2021]
Released [2021 Self Released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
For a duo, the Italian combo Coiled Around Thy Spine – very cool band name that unfortunately, for our purposes here, abbreviates as “CATS” – kick up quite a racket on their second album. From The Ashes is brash, loud and bone-rattlingly heavy thanks to the combination of guitarist Sergio Costa’s crashing riffs and frontman Daniele Rosso’s screeching vocals. If bombast is your thing, then look no further.
CATS’ sounds recalls the melodic death metal of Children Of Bodom – especially in Rosso’s upper register delivery, which eerily echoes that of the late Alexi Laiho – with some groovy twists, occasional black metal sprints and orchestral dalliances, and the tech-deathy agility of Costa, who also handles bass and did the mixing and mastering. From The Ashes picks things up where the pair left off on their 2018 debut Shades and makes it all bigger, bolder and, as noted above, more thunderous.
CATS are at their best when they are going full-tilt. The opening salvo of “Paracosm,” “Back To The Dark Dimension” and “Breath Of Existence” are redolent with taut, feisty riffs, crunching hooks and Gene Hoglan-like rivet-gun pacing from a drummer of unknown origin – no one is credited, so they may well have been programmed. The stampeding “Survival Instinct” and the post-Heartwork Carcass-like, blast-beat punctuated “Red Rising Sun” get things going again with gusto after the album slows a bit midway and the title track follows by delivering the album’s heaviest grooves.
The more classic metal-minded “Graveyard Of Thoughts,” which breaks up the momentum of the opening tracks, seems a bit bland by comparison, and the proggy meanderings of “Burning Souls” that comes right after drag on for too long – nearly nine minutes – despite some cool, late-period Death motifs. Better is the duo’s actual cover of a late-period Death tune to close the album out.
Their remake of “Bite The Pain” from Sound of Perseverance adds some extra heft to the original, but not at the expense of its technical finesse. And, oddly enough, despite the comparatively lackluster “Graveyard Of Thoughts,” CATS’ cover of Loudness’ “Like Hell” as the album’s penultimate tune is also one of its finer moments, capturing the classic metal catchiness in its ear-worm chorus while once again beefing up its delivery. Both combine for an especially strong finish to an already rock solid album that packs a punch and then some.