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The Coffinshakers

The Coffinshakers – Graves, Release Your Dead (2023)

The Coffinshakers keep reaching me by surprising ways. Halfway the 1990’ies I found a flyer of their “Vampiric country music undead” among more usual metal (and related) flyers. Country music in the dark metal scene. Odd, yet amusing.

Many years later I was working through the psychobilly (and “gothabilly”) scene and I learned that The Coffinshakers were still undead and kicking. It seemed that the band did play live, but not outside Scandinavia, so I started to suggest them for the Wave Gotik Treffen every year, especially when that festival started to incorporate psychobilly, The Coffinshakers would fit wonderfully. No succes so far.

Then earlier this year The Coffinshakers were announced to play at the Helldorado festival in my home town! I immediately bought tickets. Helldorado is the follow up of Speedfest. Speedfest towards the end was no longer a strictly speedrock/psychobilly festival as other kinds of rock and metal started to be booked as well. Helldorado was last weekend. There was a stage with mainly metal, a stage with different kinds of rock and a small stage for a variety of bands, including a psychobilly band and… The Coffinshakers.

The band gave a wonderful show. Rob Coffinshaker mentioned that there was a new album after 16 years of silence. Fortunately they played many up-tempo old songs, some dating back almost three decades.

The new album is (on the Coffinshakers scale) down- to midtempo, fairly melancholic, at times very accessible, but still with the Vampire-theme lyrics. An odd mix with songs that would fit well on Americana-type radio shows, yet with lyrics that require a certain kind of humor. The album is nice. The band has good musicians and Rob still has his Johnny Cash-type voice. So when you are looking for something out of the ordinary, The Coffinshakers still are.

Links: The Coffinshakers, Svart Records

The Coffinshakers / The Archers (7″ 2011)

1995. I was in my ‘transition period’ from metal to something else. Still from within the metal scene a flyer reached me. It was a weird, handdrawn flyer announcing “vampyric country music” and “country undead”. Wondering what that would be, I got myself a copy of a wonderfull demo. Then followed two 7″s (1996 and 1999) and a 12″ (2000). After that I lost track of this Swedish band, but this was not due to them. Two more albums and four 7″s were thrown towards the masses, but it was only recently that I found out that the band still exists. They opened one of the “gothabilly” compilations and recently a split 7″ was released. The music indeed reminds a bit of country, American hillbilly music, sometimes the songs are uptempo and relatively cheerfull, sometimes the songs are more modest and reminding of Johnny Cash. The lyrics are horror-themed, ‘biographically’ vampiric, sometimes about voodoo or similar subjects, but vampires make the most part of the inhabitents of the Coffinshakers songs. I do not know if the band knew about the psychobilly bands when they started with their project, but thematically and somewhat in sound, these can be quite similar. I have seen Coffinshakers patches on psychobilly jacks, so that scene found the band for sure. The music is not strictly speaking “psychobilly”, there is not really rock and roll or horror punk, “country undead” remains a good description. There are two nice songs on the 7″, The Archers (a band that I did not know) has slightly more psychobilly sound, but also not too typical and with surf-elements. A nice combination, a nice release.
Links: The Coffinshakers, The Archers, Alleycat Records

The Coffinshakers * We Are The Undead (lp 1999 primitive art records)

Some people have thought that The Coffinshakers were a joke. This was mainly because of their highly unusual kind of music in the dark scene: country! Fact is though, that I’ve got a demo from them which is already from as far back as 95 and I believe that was their second or third recording. That they still exist today, should prove to everyone that they’re definately not a joke. However this lp should have been released almost two years ago (as a cd), I’m glad that it’s finally available. As long as I know the band I’ve been captured by their totally insane combination of country music and vampiric lyrics. Some 7″s have been made available by Primitive Art and now there’s an lp which is limited to 666 copies, so I’m afraid “We Are The Undead” is not going to give The Coffinshakers much of a name. But everyone who isn’t afraid of rock’n’roll country music should try to get his/her hand on this marvelous lp. I don’t like it as much as I do the demo and 7″s, but that may be caused because the surprise is gone for me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like this lp, it’s still truly something completely different in my collection and I sure do see the fun of it. Buy this lp with the four cool dudes on the cover!