Behind the cracked mountains of the dull reds and dark blacks on Still They Pray, the 2016 release from Cough. The Richmond, Virginian band holds the key elements to making an excellent display of rough undercuts that deliver throughout the hour-long journey.
Cough is noisy, they hold this arching grasp on the listener as they focus on the electrifying riff-heavy instrumentation. Still They Pray is driven primarily by the droning style of repetition that feels cumbersome to the point where Cough derives the hard metallic overcoat with the gentle synthetic background pad. It is a platform that lets Cough become welcoming, but in a similar sense, daunting as the quantity of volume that they bring is almost crushing.
Shown on their opening “Haunter of the Dark” that focuses on creating a punch with the sound that works to glide along with the listener. Cough then moves to attack, but gradually with instruments that work into the frame with these build ups. The band that takes inspiration from earlier stoner rock bands and exhibits a real sense of familiarity behind their sound. As almost an amplification of some of the greatest workings throughout history, Cough carves themselves into the list with a natural arrangement that flows effortlessly. With “Haunter of the Dark”, Cough continues to illustrate a sense of provision under their direction.
However, proclaimed in Still They Pray,Cough shows their hand fairly quickly and does not hold many sudden surprises towards the end of the record. Even with the help of Electric Wizard’s Jus Oborn, there just are not many sudden changes that sweep the listener off their feet. Instead, their sound is deconstructed through the incredibly lumbering giant of an instrumental section as the vocals cascade over the sound.
The music is performed in a fashion that makes Still They Prayfeel substantial with each incoming listen and truly depends on the straight-forward ability. Cough conducts themselves in such a way that is actually engaging from the start as the intrigue surrounds and becomes ominous from the start. As the music begins to flood into frame as engulf the listener, Cough then has this potential about them that shines throughout Still They Pray.It takes their sound through a rollercoaster of emotional punches before finally resting with the acoustic and ambient self-titled track, “Still They Pray”.
The coffin closes on Cough as the gentle last embrace is approached like a steep cliff that overlooks a tired sea. The band is destructive in its final seconds as the range of feedback takes Cough into their sinister ways before finally dissipating into the silence. Still They Pray holds some sense of sentiment, but reveals all the secrets behind the curtain quickly and does not improvise on the sound. Instead, the arrow straight delivery is welcome as Cough is able to create something as powerful as it is droning.