Cough / The Wounded Kings – An Introduction to the Black Arts Split Album   Leave a comment

There is a thread running at the The Doommantia Forum discussing who be the next biggest bands in Doom Metal and the two bands on this killer split album would have to be two of the bands destined to take it to the next level of “Doom Metal” glory. Cough have blown minds with their two full lengths releases to date, “Sigillum Luciferi” and “Ritual Abuse” while The Wounded Kings have been equally as impressive with their “Embrace of the Narrow House” and “The Shadow Over Atlantis” albums. The bands are very different from each other so on paper this split album may seem like an unlikely combination but not only does it work, the bands actually compliment each other. Cough play with so much misanthropic conviction that they are quickly becoming the new leaders of the style with the admittedly unfortunate musical tag, “Stoner-Doom.” The Wounded Kings are a more traditional, prog-laced Doom Metal act with their roots in Occultism and Horror. These two new masters of doom and gloom team up for one epic-song each that stretches the total running time of this split past the 34 minute mark. Titled “An Introduction to the Black Arts” it is indeed a perfect introduction to two bands that are both driven by occultist themes and general riff worship.

Cough’s track titled “The Gates of Madness” was recorded at the same time as the “Ritual Abuse” album but style-wise it is closer to the tortured sound that had on “Sigillum Luciferi” than their current full-length album. The track begins with the sound of amplifiers decaying and guitars rotting but eventually a grisly riff comes to life like a hideous Frankenstein monster. Their nasty, caustic crawling brand of doom is built around slow-motion tortured grooves with painfully elongated passages. The vocals on the other hand are raw and filled with pain while the bass and the drums are locked in with an unrestrained power and precision. A while into the track vocals become cleaner and this is when the band hits its stride and sounds the most like Electric Wizard and other more conventional forms of Doom, funny now how we think of EW as conventional but there you go. You get some psychedelic lead guitar and the track comes to feedback-laden ending after close to 20 minutes. This is without a doubt one of the most unhinged Cough songs ever recorded but it is surprisingly easy to listen to as this song flows and is expertly arranged for what it is….hellish Doom Metal.

The Wounded Kings track, “Curse of Chains” is of course very different but equally as punishing. It is the first track with guitarist Steve Mills and guitarist/vocalist George Birch joining forces with bassist Luke Taylor and drummer Nick Collings making The Wounded Kings a complete line-up. Not that the bands sound was lacking before anyway but these guys make their début here and it is a welcome introduction as this song is classic Wounded Kings material. In classic traditional Doom Metal fashion, the song builds slowly with riffs and swirling lead being backed up with organ before the vocals finally come in 5 minutes into the murky dirge. As the song moves on it becomes increasingly more complex with multi-layered guitars and organ. The vocals are thin but effective and increased the atmospheric quality of the piece with their despairing, despondent lyrics. The progressive rock elements are subtle but effective at building the song and making it flow better and it ends with a painfully, sorrowful piano outro concluding a bleak but powerful piece of emotional Doom Metal.

This album serves as a wonderful introduction to both these bands and both these songs demonstrate Doom-Metal song-building at its very best and most compelling. Both bands do multi-section pieces that flow remarkably well and never get dull. Usually with split albums, one band comes off better than the other but in the case of “An Introduction to the Black Arts,” it is really hard to pick a favorite track out of these two monsters. For people who need no such introduction to these two bands, it is still worth getting for the one of the best Cough tracks ever and to hear the Wounded Kings with their new line-up so it is a win-win situation with this split-album and look at the album art, it rules. Two bands, two masters of their craft, this is a no-brainer, essential…………..10/10
Cough Official Website
Cough @ MySpace.com
Official Cough Facebook
The Wounded Kings Official Myspace

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Posted November 19, 2010 by doommantia in Cough, The Wounded Kings

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