This is the music that the Grim Reaper listens to as he pulls Bong rips through sludgy black water!
Doom, doom and yet even more doom! Continuing in the great dark work of the Relapse cult, Richmond’s Cough inaugurates this split with “Athame”. Named after the hallowed knife found on a Wiccan altar, it’s eerie build up cuts into you just like the namesake ceremonial relic. The ritual begins with a near 20-minute funeral dirge that drudges sluggishly through each measure as if the band were towing led coffins chained to their necks. Cough’s side of the split plays like a vulture of amp wattage hovering ominously above you.
But before the pungent smoke (with a peculiar hemp-like smell) can clear, Relapse neophytes Windhand answer Cough’s call to backward prayer. Bloody chalices rise in tribute towards their two-pronged end of the split. Picking up where their self-titled debut on Force Field left off, this coven continues on in their brand of Sabbathian, red-eyed doom metal, serving a grim foreshadowing of what’s to come on their upcoming full-length release for Relapse. Front-woman Dorthia Cottrell wails like a banshee; her howl swelling from under the gloomy, down-tuned haze with haunting timbre. Windhand’s brutal, yet ethereal sound does more than hold its own against a hard act to follow.
On Reflection of the Negative, both bands set a dense tone for all others in the genre to follow this year. Fans of the doom scene will erect a shrine to this split. It will inspire such austere respect from genre disciples that none would conceivably use its record sleeve as a rolling tray without viewing it as an act of sacrilege.