"Reflection of the Negative"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I can't conceive of anything doomier and more oppressive than this being released in 2013, unless it is forthcoming full-lengths from Cough and Windhand themselves. Here, the two titans of slow motion musical suicide unite for a three song album that is sure to suck every last ounce of cheer from your limp and helpless body.

It's 3 songs but definitely not an EP, not with two tracks exceeding the 18 minute mark and the third coming in just over ten minutes. If you like any kind of pace to your music, head in the other direction, because these two bands don't believe in more than 3 or four drumbeats a minute. But if you crave the total heaviness of complete  and utter DOOM, then prepare to celebrate, because "Reflection of the Negative" is leadweight in the way that only true doom can be. Cough get one track to themselves and it is a real aural monstrosity called "Athame". A dead slow drum beat, an eerie high pitched organ motif and sampled dialogue giving the usual Satanic mumbo-jumbo gives way to slow, ultra-heavy riffing that will buckle your knees. This is the stuff that doom dreams are made of. It's a thick, warm swamp of repeated sonic sludge that induces a trance. Vocals are pushed way, WAY back in the mix and seem to be either spoke word mumbling or horrific shrieks. Just when the repetition reaches the absolute breaking point, the riffing changes and becomes even more catchy and tribal. Cough carry this monster riff to the bitter end of the song, with plenty of acidic guitar noise laced on top. This track is a nightmare, that's the only way to describe it.

Windhand then kick in and really, they can't equal the sheer evil of Cough, but anybody who picked up their awesome self-titled debut will love the two lumbering anthems here. "Amaranth" is 18 minutes of trance-inducing thick and meaty doom with the ethereal ghost-like vocals of Dorthea adding their own atmosphere. This track is really almost two songs in one. "Shepherd's Crook" follows in much the same fashion and if anything, is even heavier and more plodding. Right now, Windhand have tapped into a simple and incredibly effective style of music, but somewhere down the road, I can see them falling into a pit of monotony if they don't change the formula they've used so far. But on "Reflection of the Negative", they are still massive eidolons of doominess.

Usually splits don't interest me too much, but this one is really the elephant in the living room...impossible to ignore. I look forward to further low-tuned brutality from both.