New entrants to the doom/sludge scene stake their territory.
The self-titled split EP from doom metal outfits Cough and Windhand features just one song by Cough and two by Windhand, but the tunes give the listener plenty to absorb: together the three total more than 36 minutes. Cough's 19-minute epic "Athame" features sludgy guitars, a leaden beat, and a vocalist who sounds as if he's being eviscerated even as the studio tape rolls. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the guitars do possess a pleasantly earthy tone that matches the thudding tempo and overall air of gloom. Cough is clearly interested in ploughing the same furrow as, say, Electric Wizard, and do a fine job of it. With half its lyrics consisting of the repeated mantra "Black altar, ritual suicide", you get a pretty good idea of where Cough's bloody, still-beating heart lies. Windhand features a rounder, bass-heavy guitar sound, and a bit more verve on its two tunes, although "verve" is a relative term when discussing bands like this. The vocals are cleaner, too, and that, combined with an ever-so-slightly bouncier energy in the 11-minute "Shepherd’s Crook", makes for a slightly more accessible doom/gloom/black/death metal listening experience. It's a stretch to call either of these bands "pop", but Windhand has a slightly smoother, ear-friendly sheen to its dark-hued cries of despair.