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COUGH - Ritual Abuse 2LP


COUGH - Ritual Abuse 2LP

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If I'm being honest, there's only so many times that one can listen to Electric Wizard until they get bored. Thankfully, there's a myriad of bands that play stoner doom as well. On the downside, most of those are range from uninspired to forgettable. Cough is not one of those bands.

What we have here is a tight package of fuzzy, feedback ridden doom with a lot of psychedelia and sludge thrown in. The music does vary a bit, where "Mind Collapse" and "A Year in Suffering" are both twelve minute long trips with painful screamed vocals, the song "Crooked Spine" is a more psych rock track, with clean vocals most of the way through and cleaner guitars. All five of the songs are memorable and none of them drag on at all, even though most of the riffs are repeated a lot.

It's a testament to how good the riffs are if you can play it over and over without ever getting bored of it. Some examples on this album include the first riff of "Mind Collapse", the heavy as hell riffing in the second half of "Crippled Wizard" and the second riff of "Crooked Spine". The guitar leads and solos are just as great, just listen to "Crippled Wizard" (which has a great lead toward the end) and the solo halfway through "A Year in Suffering" that sounds a lot like a good Electric Wizard solo.

The performances on this album are also fantastic, and the production is sublime. The drums feel and sound powerful plus drummer Joseph Arcaro manages to keep things interesting with some intricate fills. You can hear every single hit of the snare and every single thump of the kick drum cut through the mix, with a little bit of reverb to boot. I'm not sure if Cough had a really good room to record drums in, or if they applied some reverb in the post-processing. Either way, it works perfectly.

The guitars are also masterfully produced. They're covered in this layer of warm fuzz that makes them heavy, but still accessible in a way. Really reminds me of the guitar tone on Electric Wizard's "Black Mass", but with less sloppiness. The bass can only be described as extremely fuzzy with a very thick, round kind of sound. It does kind of stick out, but it can get buried under all the fuzzy guitars.

The vocals are probably my favorite aspect of the album. Parker Chandler and David Cisco utilize both really dreamy clean vocals and agonizing shrieks reminiscent of black metal. They're also covered in the reverb, which just adds to the overall psychedelic atmosphere that the music brings.

If you'll notice, the Electric Wizard comparison keeps cropping up, that's because this band has basically replaced Electric Wizard for me. Cough will probably never top "Dopethrone" or "...Come My Fanatics", but they definitely do come really close. That's good enough for me.

Speaking of which, Cough's next album is being produced by Jus Oborn himself. Can't wait to see how that turns out.

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