Latest release: Ritual Abuse (Relapse/Riot!)

Virginia sludge/doom lords COUGH rumbled into view in 2005 and before long had made an impact with their debut four-track EP The Kingdom. Following that up with two earth-shaking full length albums – 2008’s Sigillum Luciferi and last year’s Ritual Abuse – that clock in at almost an hour each but contain only six and five songs respectively, COUGH has gained underground acclaim as one of the best bands of their kind. Arriving on Australian shores this week for a tour and to headline the Doomsday Festival at various locations, Loud fired off some quick questions to bassist/vocalist Parker Chandler.

Ritual Abuse was met with widespread acclaim. Listening back to the album now, is there anything significant you would change about it?
A: Nothing significant. As times passes you’ll think of things maybe you could have done better but it’s not like we sit around and listen to the record to look for our weaknesses. We did the best we could do at that point in time and hopefully things will continue to get better. It could always be louder, I guess.

Q: Did it surprise you at all just how positive some of the reviews were for the record?

A: I guess it’s weird to have some people speak so positively of such a negative form of expression but misery loves company. We don’t put ourselves out there expecting anyone to love it or hate it, we just do it because it comes natural to us. If people dig it that’s great. If people hate it they can shut the fuck up and listen to something else. We don’t really care.

Q: What’s the latest on a follow-up – have the band done much work on the next album yet? If so, how is the new material shaping up compared to your previous work?
A: We’ve been so busy touring that we haven’t had much time to write. I think we’re going to slow down a little this winter and focus on a new record. We’ve got one new song written. It’s a little sludgier, I’d say. We’ll be playing it in Australia.

Q: COUGH also released a split with The Wounded Kings last year, featuring one of your most epic compositions yet. Do you plan to release any more one-offs like this in the future?
A: Hopefully. I’m not sure how near in the future though. We work pretty slow but we have been talking to other bands.

Q: You will be making your first trek to Australia this week. What are your expectations for the shows and the country itself?
A: We’re expecting a lot of free beer so don’t let us down… I really have no clue what to expect.

Q: What can fans expect from your live show?
A: Hopefully it’ll be as loud as Hell. We’ll be playing stuff from both full-length records as well as a new song.

Q: Are there many Australian bands you’re a fan of?

A: We caught Whitehorse a few months ago. Then there’s diSEMBOWELMENT, of course we’re excited to be playing with d.USK. Atolah was from down there as well, I believe.

Q: On a more personal note, are there any new release you’ve been enjoying lately?
A: I’ve been listening to Despond by Loss a lot lately. I don’t really check out too much new music though.

Q: If you had to give readers new to the sludge/doom field three essential albums of that style to check out, what would they be and why?
A: Nightfall by Candlemass – not as sad as Epicus… but overall I think it’s a better record. “Samarithan”is such a killer song.
Born Too Late by St Vitus – American doom metal but with a punk attitude/influence. They seem to embrace being scumbags on this record which, I think, is pretty awesome. Dopethrone by Electric Wizard – dirty, angry and slow but still keeping a groove.

Q: What was the first album you bought with your own money and if it wasn’t a metal record, what was also the first metal release you purchased? What do you think of them now?
A: It was probably a Nirvana record. Sometime after that I picked up Acid Bath’s Pagan Terrorism Tactics which I still enjoy

Q: Any famous last word?

A: Can’t think of anything clever. See y’all soon.