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The Black Arts indeed - 90%

AcidWorm, December 27th, 2010

“An Introduction to the Black Arts” Well that is pretty much what you get with this split. Whilst both bands don’t sound totally alike they both manage to produce a very hellish atmosphere through slow plodding doom. This is why they are able to work so effectively together.

Cough opens up this split with some crushing drone the progresses into some sludge that verges on funeral doom. The sound is very morbid with the guitars mostly playing along with the bass line. There is just enough fuzz to layer the sound. The vocals are cavernous black metal screeches that will stand the hair up on the back of your neck. About halfway through the vocals change into eerie, clean singing. “Standing in the gates of madddddddness…” It then leads into a bluesy Black Sabbath solo before going back to the cavernous screeches for the duration of the song. The production is very morbid as said before with a very grimy atmosphere that sounds like this was recorded in a deep, dark cavern. This is really remarkable stuff that sends you to hell for 19minutes.

The Wounded Kings takes a different direction with their journey into the black arts. They are a mesh of traditional doom and psychedelic with a dash of extreme funeral doom. They really aren’t that far off fellow countrymen, Esoteric, one of the most respected bands in extreme doom. The main difference between the two being in the vocal delivery. While Esoteric uses echoing death growls, The Wounded Kings use clean singing, quite similar to Cough’s vocals partway through their song. It may be cliché with funeral doom but I have always enjoyed the addition of an organ. The Wounded Kings uses one to nice effect here without giving it so much authority that it transfers the attention on itself, and keeping it eerie enough from sounding too bright and corny. The song plods along till only after 6minutes do the vocals come in. The vocalist sounds like he is in a trance with his clean singing that verges on ritualistic chanting. They sound like they are being recorded in a cave due to the way they echo. This along with the eerie guitar leads gives the music a spacey psychedelic vibe.

This split is a worthy addition to any extreme doom fan’s collection. You get no less than some of the most morbid material coming out of extreme doom right now. Cough is slightly better as I am a bit more of a fan of the crushing and utterly morbid sound than the slightly softer and spacier approach of the Wounded Kings. Nevertheless both bands are excellent at what they do in sending the listener to hell.