Cough: Ritual Abuse

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Cough: Ritual Abuse
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Cough: Ritual Abuse
Doom Metal, Sludge
Relapse Records
October 26th, 2010
Release length: 53:21
Myspace
One would not really know what to think of a band that simply goes by the name Cough, especially with it’s more Black Metal style logo and upside down cross on the “h”. While the name may not be menacing, the band’s music truly is. Taking a much darker approach in the lyrical sense, Cough is a four-piece Doom/Sludge acts from Richmond, Virginia that formed back in 2005. While Ritual Abuse is not the band’s first album, it’s perhaps the first that many will hear since this is being issued through Relapse Records instead of their previous label, Forcefield Records. Bringing a very occult, and often Satanic lyrical approach to the lyrics, as well as a very clean vocal style, Ritual Abuse stands out nicely as a five song full-length that clocks in at over fifty minutes of pure, heavy, depressing Metal.

Right from the start, Ritual Abuse really brings the listener down with it’s slow paced music that is distorted enough to give the listener a burdening, heavy feeling. If it weren’t for the inclusion of a Sludge approach, which shines through mostly in the vocals and some riffs here adn there, you would honestly believe you were listening to a Doom inspired Black Metal effort, as all the ques for that style are here, including the darker lyrics, atmosphere, and sometimes can even be picked out through the music itself with the guitar riffs. Of course, the guitar solo to this track turns things around as it reaches it’s end, giving it a rather uplifting feeling as it closes out with some heavy distortion sound effects to close out the song. It also appears the band enjoys utilizing feedback on top of heavy distortion through their instruments, and as a general ambient effect, as this, and the following track, “A Year in Suffering”, both start with high pitched feedback from the guitars for a good while before crawling into the actual song. This track, however, lacks the heavy, burdening distortion feel that “Mind Collapse” has, though it’s still a fantastic track with some harsher vocals that aren’t all necessarily clean Sludge vocals, as well as just clocks in one second longer then “Mind Collapse”.

outside some of the obvious Black Metal interpretations in the music of “Mind Collapse” and “A Year in Suffering”, the Sludge role seems to be taken a step further during the track “Crooked Spine”. This is one of the more lighter songs of the release, though nowhere near as uplifting as the guitar solo to the end of “Mind Collapse”. This song ultimately shows a bit of an early Stoner Rock feel to the music at times, especially in the guitar solo. This leads for an interesting composition that leads the album away from any chance that these long tracks will become repetitive, and when you throw the Doom atmosphere and performances that accompany this track, it really helps to make everything stand out nicely. The only problem you will find with this release is, as mentioned, the heavy feeling from the start of the album doesn’t seem to continue. “Ritual Abuse”, the title track, closes the album nicely with a very dark sounding slower paced track with screaming instead of the traditional Sludge clean vocals, but while the song itself does come off intimidating, it sounds clean compared to “Mind Collapse”, not really utilizing much distortion to create a real crushing atmosphere to the music, which is what draws the listener in from the start. This isn’t to say the track is bad, though, given what the band performed on the previous four tracks, it honestly could have been a little better, though the bridges for the song have some fantastic dark chords to them that just sound haunting and really depressing.

Ritual Abuse shows the metal community what Cough is all about, making the household word cough into a household name for fans of the Doom style of Metal. This release has everything one could ask for, though the lack of the heavy atmosphere that invites the listener in as you progress through is a little disheartening. Either way, the music always varies from track to track, though never violating the slow Doom pace set at the start of the release. If you’re looking for something dark and just flat out menacing to liten to, Ritual Abuse by Cough should be at the top of your list of releases to check out.

01. Mind Collapse – 12:08
02. A Year in Suffering – 12:09
03. Crippled Wizard – 6:49
04. Crooked Spider – 9:16
05. Ritual Abuse – 12:59
Overall Score: 9/10
Cough (band)
Cough (logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.