Having finally caught Cough’s live show last weekend, and in preparing the write-up, I realized I had never reviewed this one (even though I spooged all over Ritual Abuse last year); please consider this my amends.
Two versions of this review–
1) What the guy behind you at the show might say:
It’s just two tracks, The Wounded Kings’ 15-minute “Curse of Chains” first– fucking awesome. Cough as (instrumental up to the 7-minute mark) ambient sludge or doom– like fucking Pelican or Swans if they were slower and worshiped fucking Satan. And there’s a fucking organ!
So yeah, they open exactly like you’d think: about three minutes of feedback and a group BONG! There’s a gong or something else being hit, too. The fucking singer sounds like Linda Blair being tortured or some shit… it’s long as shit too… like 20 minutes or something… Fucking HEAVEEEE, dude….
2) What I’ll say:
The vocals really do sound like Michael Gira playing Hammond B-3 and singing for Cough; lyrics are sung and spoken, but never become screams or grunts; this makes the whole thing sound like a sludge metal Depeche Mode or Morissey. (And I like Depeche Mode.) Makes me wanna hear more from The Wounded Kings. The closing line “I’ll pledge my soul…!” sounds like Ian Astbury. The final A note, on piano, giving the whole work a melancholy grandeur. Beautifully balanced from start to finish.
Hitting that low B over and over… finally builds at 2:50 and at 3:35 the shrieks hit, over a blues-simple swaying riff… so much reverb on the shrieking you’ll vacate your bowels… it takes its time, plays loose with the downbeat, it’s laid-back, late-night Satanic sludge metal.
I never thought I would write those words.
Clean, mournful vocals at 7:40… I’m still seeing pretty clearly the line from Delta blues to satanic heavy metal… Goddamn, this is very, very cool.