While everyone was busy disseminating the new Ghost record and beating off to the glitzy and gimmicky, so-called “originality” of the Swedish sextet, Sludge/Doom outfit Cough was quietly emerging from the quicksand of the Virginia wetlands with their crippling addition to the split with Windhand, Reflection of the Negative, entitled Athame. The track invites the listener in an opium den of torture and leaves them lame with a slow and echoing drumbeat, a crunchy and hypnotic riff and raspy, sludge vocals. Staying in doom tradition, the track is obnoxiously long, 18 and a half minutes to be exact, yet never bores with repetitive riffs, instead bridging in proper spots and evoking painful passion in the vocals, drawing the listener further in. “Crack! Altar! Ritual of Suicide! The time has come…the time has come for sacrifice”, are lyrics you will surely find yourself singing as Cough slowly put’s you under their spell. Clearly the standout track on the split, Athame is an unadulterated celebration of pain. Fans of Eyehategod, The Melvins and Sourvein take note. Cough is a worthy addition on the altar of sludge deities.
Fellow Virginian’s, Windhand’s contributions to Reflection of the Negative, Amaranth and Shepard’s Crook, may not be as memorable as the Cough track, but still hypnotize the listener, inviting them into a world of pain. Clean and ambient, soulful vocals, traditional doom repetitive riffing and a slow, seductive drumbeat, characterize Windhand’s unique sound. Reminiscent of doom pioneers, Electric Wizard, yet with more atmosphere, Windhand is most definitely a band worth taking note of. The band has one full length album to date, boasting rave reviews and does not disappoint on this split. I am confident we will be seeing more of this band in the future.
Reflection of the Negative was released on Relapse Records on April 16 of this year and is available for free streaming on Bandcamp. I’ve posted a link below. Happy Listening. Hails!