"Ritual Abuse"

By Dr. Abner Mality

One of the sure signs of sickness is a miserable cough. Get ready to be as sick as a dog, because this COUGH is the most miserable you will ever endure. And yes, I mean that in a good way. "Ritual Abuse" sounds like a corpse being slowly dragged across a barren and war-blasted field. DOOOOM (with multiple OOO's) is the name of the game and Cough might even make the mighty Electric Wizard feel like gouging out their eyes and plugging their ears with hot wax.

No doubt about it, Wizard is the biggest influence and inspiration for the five torpid tunes on "Ritual Abuse". "Mind Collapse" brings to mind Wizard classics like "Funeralopolis" and "Return Trip", only stretched out to even more agonizing lengths. Look for no light breaking through a hole in the sky here, it's an unbroken blanket of sullen black clouds. "A Year In Suffering" is just as cheerful as the name suggests and almost feels like it lasts a year. "Crippled Wizard" is briefer, punchier and riffier but not one bit more hopeful. By now, listeners not into doom and sludge have long fled into the hills.

A bit of difference comes in with "Crooked Spine", which has a jangling, almost Western an evil ghost town. It has some of the twang of recent Earth, but unlike that dull stuff, it remains heavy and oppressive. The vocals veer between a nasal, dragging whine and hateful screams and shrieks. The title track ends the album with almost unendurable crawling sludge, again stinking of Electric Wizard, but slower and featuring a long interval of harsh electronics.

"Cough" is too mild a title for the degenerates who cooked this poisonous brew up. "Soul-shaking death rattle" is more like it. For fans of plodding miserable doom with no compromise, "Ritual Abuse" is mandatory.