“Still They Pray”

By Dr. Abner Mality

It’s been five years since I’ve had a COUGH attack and I thought these guys were maybe gone for good. No such luck…my lungs are full of mucus once more with the release of “Still They Pray”.  Cough is often considered America’s answer to Electric Wizard. This record will cement that observation…they got none other than the Wizard’s Jus Oborn to produce it.

This is as morose and sludgy as anything Electric Wizard ever produced. There are also hints of other doom greats such as Saint Vitus and Windhand in the mix, but I’m sure Cough would not deny the huge debt owed to Electric Wizard. “Haunter of the Dark” is H-E-A-V-Y like a bridge falling on your head…ultra fuzzed out and bassy guitar riffs, plodding pace, repetitive groove, weedy and miserable vocals. And that’s one of the more cheerful songs. “Possession” is one of those ten minute long slogs through a swamp of sonic misery, but “Dead Among the Roses” is more tar-like and monolithic yet. Anybody who dug Wizard’s “Time to Die” or the last Windhand album will get weak in the knees listening to this.

With fifth track “Let It Bleed”, a dirge-like melody takes over,a bleary smearing of guitar chords like mascara after an outpouring of tears. This is a different kind of doom. “Shadow of the Torturer” begins with bluesy,acid-rock guitar soloing…the ghost of Saint Vitus’ Dave Chandler is definitely lurking here…before exploding into mammoth doom grooves that knock you to the ground.  “The Wounding Hours” is almost punk rock compared to the rest of the album…six and a half minutes long…and has some NOLA sludge elements. Finally, this joyful exercise in rainbow-colored music ends with the sparse acoustics of the title track….something out of the Windhand playbook.

This sucker is horrifically downbeat and gloomy, if not terribly innovative. Cough is back and this time, I think we’re all going to hack ourselves to death.