Ritual Abuse

BY Chris AyersPublished Nov 9, 2010

With sludge-mongering act Bongzilla on permanent hiatus, Relapse smartly scoops up Richmond, VA's Cough for worldwide distribution. After their 2008 debut full-length, Sigillum Luciferi, oozed into the iPods of doom fans, the dim torch was lit for the band to find inspiration in utter despair and excrete Ritual Abuse. Proponents of slo-mo doom ― like Electric Wizard before they kicked the can after Dopethrone ― should find filthy solace in three tracks that exceed the 12-minute mark. Vocalist Chris Kirby left the band and guitarist David Cisco and bassist Parker Chandler share clean/gravelly vocal duties. "Mind Collapse" and "A Year in Suffering" lumber like a drunken giant, with drummer Joey Arcaro providing the soundtrack for destruction with dented cymbals and cavernous kick drum. When the band come up long enough from their headbanging torpor, Cisco lets loose calculated solos and wickedly spiralling space tones. "Crippled Wizard" distils old Black Sabbath riffs to their purest essence of evil, while "Crooked Spine" experiments a bit with (gasp!) vocal harmonies and ballad-like leanings until the cut lurches forward double-time, with wah-heavy solos and maximum groove. Fret not, for the title track stays the ultra-dreary doom course, as if Cathedral never made it home after recording Forest of Equilibrium. With Iron Monkey a distant memory, Cough fill the void with their mind-rotting forlornness.

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