Ritual Abuse

Written by: PP on 14/01/2011 01:05:25

When listening to Richmond, Virginia-based Cough and their new album "Ritual Abuse", words that pop into mind revolve around gloomy concepts such as ugly, disgusting, hopeless, grim, despair, and so forth. Not surprisingly, as the band itself goes on to state about the record being "the result of all the shit and suffering we put ourselves through to continue to write this music. Hopefully you all feel as miserable listening to it as we did creating it". Damn straight - listening to Cough crawl painstakingly slowly through their sludgy, doomy atmospheres is indeed a miserable affair.

That said, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you're inevitably in the mood for listening to true misery through instrumentation, and that's precisely what you find throughout "Ritual Abuse": melancholic, toned down guitar melodies drenched in sludgy, opressive soundscapes that torment the listener in a way that's probably not much different to the Christian idea of hell. In other words, exactly what Cough were going for all along. You might have heard the same idea being executed in a very similar manner on any recording by Unearthly Trance, yet the stoner-esque, droning melodic (relatively speaking) passages should draw you towards Electric Wizard. That is, if they were a hell of a lot more sludgy, creepy, and heavy. Cough's approach to the genre is rather unmelodic in nature, and uncompromising in every imaginable manner. You'll rarely hear sludge played in such a drawn-out, down-tempo manner as here.

This creates an interesting proposition for the listener. Some will undoubtedly trash the record because of its 12 minute long songs (there are only five tracks on the full length), its crawling tempo, and overall miserable outlook on topics like melody, beauty and such, but yet some may discover genius within, especially during the intensely psychedelic sessions Cough occasionally toys with in the midst of the ugly, brief shrieks. Yes, semi-melodic cleans occasionally contribute to this atmosphere, and it's here where the band are at their very best. Still, a little too miserable / hopeless for my liking.

Download: A Year In Suffering
For the fans of: Electric Wizard, Unearthly Trance
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.10.2010

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