Wednesday 13 March 2013

Cough/Windhand - Reflection of the Negative (Split Review)

Album Type : Split
Date Released :  15/4/2013
Label : Relapse Records
Reflection of the Negative, album tracklisting:

1. Cough  - Athame
2. Windhand - Amarath
3. Windhand - Shepard's Crook

Richmond, Virginia’s twin titans of doom team up for the split album of the year with ‘Reflection Of The Negative’.  Cough deliver a typically electrifying one song down-tuned epic side, while Windhand serve up two brand new songs for their half of the dirge.  This is premier doom at its absolute gloomiest.  

Exclusive Relapse super limited edition mailorder only black/white combo vinyl available.

Asechiah Bogdan - Guitar,
Parker Chandler - Bass,
Dorthia Cottrell - Vocals,
Garrett Morris - Guitar
Ryan Wolfe - Drums 

Formed in 2009, Richmond, VA's Windhand ( play what has been described as a tinnitus inducing mix of eerie psychedelia and haunting ambient doom. 2012 saw therelease of their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut LP via Forcefield Records. A subsequent heavy dose of East Coast touring followed,culminating with a four week U.S. tour in August of that year.
The response from the press and fans alike has been immense. Cvlt Nation's review insists, "Windhand are way more than a band that you should be on the look out for, they are group of humans that will change the way your hear doom." While Decibel Magazine said, "For the most part, Sabbathian doom bands stand out by only writing great songs because sonically it's damn near impossible to separate yourself from the overcrowded genre. But there is something about Richmond's Windhand that makes them even more drugged-out and exceptional...It's massive,addictive destruction. Yeah, these fuckers are gonna be huge."


Parker Chandler: Vocals, Bass
David Cisco: Vocals, Guitar
Brandon Marcey: Guitar
Joey Arcaro: Drums

Cough was conceived in the metal fertile metal underground of Richmond, VA circa 2005. The newly formedband sought out to be the heaviest band ever from Richmond, and took inspiration from traditional doom metal bands (Sabbath, Cathedral, Pentagram, Grief, Electric Wizard, Goatsnake, etc.), grimy sludge (Sleep,Eyehategod, Cavity) and early metal (Bathory).

The band self-released an EP, ‘The Kingdom’, in 2007, and followed it quickly with their first proper ful llength ‘Sigillum Luciferi’ in 2008. Recorded w/ acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Rwake, Pelican, Nachtmystium), ‘Sigillum Luciferi’ is an ugly, agonizing set of misanthropy set to music. Slight bits of psychedelia had wormed into the massive riffs and woven throughout the bands inhuman screams, making this one of the most promising pieces of doom metal to emerge from North America in quite some time.

Sporadic gigging followed the release before the band holed up in a Richmond warehouse to write the follow up. Winter 2008 was brutal, the warehouse was filthy and unheated, and the band slowly labored forward with the writing between hospital visits and bouts of near-insanity. By winter 2009/2010, the band had signed to Relapse Records and returned to Chicago, IL, enlisting Parker once again to record the follow-up to ‘Sigillum Luciferi’.

That follow-up, their aptly titled Relapse debut ‘Ritual Abuse’, delivers thoroughly massive, psychedelic doom. The albums five epic tracks are impenetrable walls of sludge; at some points suffocating and claustrophobic, at others warped and hallucinogenic. ‘Ritual Abuse’ is an impressive monolith of sound and volume, and one of the finest moments yet for 21st century doom metal.

Upon its releases the band embarked on two epic North American and European tours lasting almost four months that would’ve broken lesser bands. No sooner did these road warriors return home, than they hit the road with Buzzoven and tattooed their uncompromising doom across L.A.’s vaunted Scion Rock Fest. Cough are currently preparing for another US headline run, and their first ever Australian and New Zealand


Funereal. Sloth like. Crawling. All words that could sum up Cough's contribution to this worthwhile split.

Their sound is so heavy, so bleak, it suited my mood perfectly as I suffered from some flu/virus like illness on my sofa. “Athame” allows the drums to set up a tar thick groove while the guitars drone and the vocals scream.

At over 18 mins, this track is not for the faint hearted, but if you like your Eyehategod, Electric Wizard and more traditional doom sounds then this will leave you satisfied. The message is bleak and the sound unforgiving- almost hypnotic- so it drags you down into the mood and keeps you there. The vocals are almost like incantations at times and this works extremely well with the track as a whole. You almost don't notice the drums not being there, such is the momentum of the guitars and vocals around the ten minute mark. The track then builds again to a dramatic climax, crashing drums and all. Brilliant stuff.

Meanwhile, Windhand offer up their brand of psychedelic and Sabbathian doom. The pace of “Amaranth”, although by no means Slayer, sounds positively galloping after Cough, but the vibe and delivery are no less drug induced and hazy. The vocals have a great echoey sound to them while the guitars riff forcefully over airy sounding drums. The sound is somewhat ethereal, giving a dreamy sense to the tracks on offer here. At nearly 7 ½ minutes the track is by no means short, and the trouble the band take to set up the looping groove is thus not wasted as it certainly has room to breathe and take on a life of its own.

“Shepherd's Crook” is Windhand's second song on this split and clocks in at over 10 mins in length, taking the release well into album length (Cough alone is half an album!). The pace is slower here and the guitars work well with an enjoyably fuzzy tone (and with the bass too). The riffing packs a strong refrain and certain passages cycle again- more traditional song structuring can be detected.

Overall, if you enjoy Electric Wizard or other psych/doom, pick this release up; very cool stuff.

Words by : Richard Maw

As always show your support to the band. You can pre order the record here and is available everywhere from 16 April 2013.  Thanks to Bob at Relapse Records for hooking us with the album for review.