July 2, 2013 | , , | 3.5

Cough / Windhand, Reflection Of The Negative

Cough/Windhand: Reflection Of The Negative

Cough and Windhand may both hail from Richmond, Virginia, but their music, however, is worlds apart. On one hand you have the sludgy, slow moving doom of Cough and on the other Windhand’s more arie and upbeat take on the style. Regardless of which ever you may favor, the combination of the two bands on this epic 36-plus minute split is quite complementary and, simply put, badass.

Cough leads offReflection of the Negative with “Athame.” The track weighs in at a hefty 18 and a half minutes of slow moving, desolate doom. After a brief sound byte, the guys gets underway with churning riffage and distant, indecipherable screams and other vocal utterances. This is not an easy track to get through, but if you hold out long enough you will be fully rewarded. While the majority of the song is bleak and depressing, the latter portion (and it’s repetitious nature) become more aggressive and ritualistic.

As with much of Cough’s material that I’ve come across, “Athame” is nasty and full of spiteful hatred. Toward who? I don’t know, nor do I care. Just as long as they keep it coming. There’s a vocal shift about half way through as the delivery shifts from tortured shrieks to raspy shouts, but still in the distance. The song may be darn lengthy, but builds nicely through its eighteen minutes to a rupturing crescendo of sludgy, barbaric riffage at the 12:40 mark. It’s the point you’ve been waiting for the whole song and it offers the listener the opportunity to let loose with some hearty head banging.

Windhand let loose with two new tracks they offer here are right in line with the music we heard on their excellent, self-titled debut last year. “Amaranth” kicks off with some seriously heavy, yet completely groove-worthy riffs for the first minute before Dorthia Cottrell’s vocals weave in and out in the distance. Just as on the debut, her delivery is captivating and entrancing. The song is doomy yet spacey and flows along nicely to their second offering on this split.

“Shepherd’s Crook” is just as doomy as its predecessor, but Cottrell’s vocals may be even more stoned out and spacey than before. Here melody is in distinct contrast the the buzzed out, churning riffs, but for some damned reason it all comes together perfectly. The combination of her ethereal display and the ever-flowing guitars blend together for a thick and smooth flowing presence.

When all is said and done, Reflection of the Negative is a tale of two bands, each with their own take on the doom genre. On one hand you have the ritualistic despondency of Cough and on the other, the more traditional interpretation of Windhand. Whichever you prefer, the three tracks on this split certainly deliver the goods.