Cough, Ritual Abuse

Cast an eyeball toward the inferno on the above cover: dig me and Virgil schooling you, dig Beatrice despairing, kookie nuts ready to rattle your cage: come (tune) down with us, Orpheus, let ol’ Kharon carry you across, through the caves of Ritual Abuse

[Sorry sorry sorry for the delay of this review, baby– we needed time to process this slab of audible damnation….]

Cough are at the far left (hand path) of the metronome AND the tuner: played slow, tuned low. Some track slither by, slowing, slowing… with so much space between each count of the drummer’s right hand… they’re almost rubato, without time… the fifth chords ring like distant knell of a haunted church– unpredictable, inevitable….

I played Cough’s previous, Sigilum Luciferi, like it emitted peyote per revolution. I dig Cough, daddy-o. I dig their Blues for the Evil. Don’t forget that’s what heavy metal is: detuned blues in high gain with long hair….

(Here’s me fully disclosing: I’m officially onboard the Cough wagon: I ordered two shirts from them because the first was so cool I knew I’d wear it out…. BTW, order some merch from Cough: billing statement says “To Burt Reynolds.” Dig the humor, the big tickle, under the blood and despair.)

So anyway, put on your peepers, this razzes my berries and here it is– I’m a sing about these songs, these peons, these kicks that kill me, Big Daddy:

Satanic homage to their devil blues/ blackened doom: tracks are reviewed in backwards (inverted!) order.

Closer, “Ritual Abuse”: sludge-crusted, sludge spraying opening riff… a radioactive riff for the day Cough are radioactive with their sales….

Next: “Crooked Spine”… despair of the suicides in the acoustic intro: Neil Young in rehab for a habit he knows will kill him. An almost-acoustic piece that Alice in Chains would’ve written if they were truly depressed. “Who will save you now? Who will cast you out?” — it’s anguish blues for demons. Goddamned (pun intended) cool.

Then: “Crippled Wizard,” the boss tritone riff connoting exactly the Fallen despair you’d expect… it’s a blast…. Go on Clyde… get in that shit….

The overall repetition in the tunes, a psychotic bluesman fixated on the Riff, who must sound, like a Dervish, the deal he made with Satan…! It’s a Cute (like a Chinese baby) expansion of the sound and vibe of Sigilum Luciferi, which I still herald as The Album Composed of Cornucopia Riffs, aka Sludge Nirvana…!

Vocals: over-reverbed, like how they shriek during waterboarding in the Underworld… vocals that alternate between semi-sung and blared– like the Pazuzu within the singer periodically gets control of his vocal chords– glad I wasn’t there for the recording– I hate pea soup, especially when it’s spat on me….

Ritual Abuse is the best of Sludge Metal: a detuned corroded blues, obsessed with the flatted fifth and the satanic despair it spells when sounded. A despair for the 21st century. A despair… incurable.

A despair Goddamned enjoyable.

9.5/ 10

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