Wednesday 1 June 2016

COUGH - Still They Pray (Album Review)

Release date: June 03rd 2016. Label: Relapse Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Still They Pray – Tracklisting

1.Haunter of the Dark
3.Dead Among the Roses
4.Masters of Torture
5.Let it Bleed
6.Shadow of the Torturer
7.The Wounding Hours
8.Still They Pray

Band Members:

David Cisco, Parker Chandler, Joey Arcaro, Brandon Marcey


Anybody that is the least bit familiar with Cough can acknowledge that the band have a homemade sound. Through walls of vertical feedback, Cough spew and sputter sludge vomit into a decrepit doom dumpster with a warning label advising the unwary not to play their music at high volume or around church children. Now, I enjoyed the songs from ‘Sigillum Luciferi’ and ‘Ritual Abuse’ and much of what made those albums great is continued on this new release, however, I find that in this new release Cough have taken a few decomposed steps further into investigating the realms of their own signature sound. I actually covet the sound of the guitar solos on this album, for they are wormholes of otherworldly material. This band is a fiery locomotive fed by olden coal running on the dilapidated rails of the underground. They harness the power of noise and make it music. This is heavy doom, it is space sludge and it is hallucinogenic sound. The invidious tracks are as follows:

Haunter of the Dark- A Lovecraftian quote is narrated amongst feedback and guitar work that sounds like a tribe of savages drawing a dinosaur bone across a giant binding of fibrous bamboo chutes. The sound is deeply resonant and awash with primal fear. A droning, distorted vibration captured as music, not noise. The unmistakable Cough vocals are immediately recognizable as their own. The guitar soloing is put through a vacuum pedal that processes sound between the planets and the stars. The song’s deformity is its strength.

Possession-Picture a caged demon suspended over the pit of hell that was given a microphone...that is what has been captured on this track. A song composed of plodding, heavy doom. The drummer must buy drumsticks by the gross, because his kit is surely a study in decimation. This is the sound of vanity showcased in eternal death. Only a death defying stuntman guitarist could play a solo on a guitar covered in flames.

Dead Among The Roses-This track is the most traditional doom song on the album in terms of structural composition and overall ear friendliness. This sludge track should be the starting point for those unaware of this band's musical style. Some people need to bring their tolerance up to snuff when it comes to heavy music and this song will assist them in their own electrocution.

Masters of Torture- This song is a recording of pain. It is as if speakers were attached to hearts filled with sadness and loss. The middle section of the song picks up as the tortured rattle their chains in eager anticipation of their punishers. Twisting guitars, a deep bass, committed barrel drums and tongue-tortured vocals will make your walls shake and your scrotum quiver.

Let It Bleed-This song has an old feeling running through its construction. This is a slow and almost humanistic Cough. This is a great song and probably my favorite of the entire album. It is slightly reminiscent of the sounds expressed on the past track ‘Crooked Spine’ from the former release, but more melodic and insidiously viral. I thought I knew what this band is capable of, but I was not entirely accurate in my assumptions. I would like to hear this band explore this side of themselves more often. It is a cough in your other face.

Shadow of the Torturer-This is a track documenting an instrumental psychedelic travelogue.

The Wounding Hours-This will stir the horror congregation and get them on their blistered feet. An almost atonal song that manages to convey awe in reverence of the certain dread experienced by all folks during those depressing cemetery walks in our lives. This is a monolith erected on the outskirts of doom metal. It is a massive and encyclopedic muck of commotion. Pure Cough.

Still They Pray-An acoustic song is the only thing left to include on an album amassed in all that is dense doom and thick sludge. This track will aid you in treating any wounds inflicted during the excision of tumorous growths left by imposter bands claiming to be all that is heavy and assist you in the recovery by helping you reflect on what you have just heard and processed during this surgically sonic excursion.

I was in a physical slump after listening to this album and that is what a good album is all about. This album is unpleasant and difficult, with no real comparisons. It is like an arrest warrant for your soul with bail to be set by a superior court judge presiding in hell. I know there are a lot of bands out there scrabbling for your attention and you need to choose wisely for maximum gratification. Many bands offer a consideration, but that is not enough for me nowadays. I need more and compositional music should be about more. Cough don’t offer a mere consideration, they petition for absolute devotion.

Words by Na Palmisano

Still They Pray will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Relapse Records from June 3rd 2016.