I do so very much enjoy the work of Cowards. Their last album, 2015’s Rise to Infamy, was a tight ball of violent blackened extremity filled with hardcore’s passion and sludge’s ugly heaviness. Still continues this theme, boasting three new tracks and two covers. This is 19 minutes of music guaranteed to stop you in your tracks and then hit you around the head.
If you haven’t met Cowards before, then you should know that they don’t play nice. At all. Cowards know how to play nasty music, and I’m pleased to say that on Still they continue to play it extremely well indeed.
From the very start of this EP they lay their violent intent wide open for all to see, with ferocious screams, icy blackened riffs, furious blast beats, dissonant hardcore and glacier-slow monolithic sludge; all this within the first minute or so of the first track starting.
I always like how they combine the sludge and blackened hardcore aspects of their sound. One moment you can be listening to pure aggression, while the next they can be easily conjuring up apocalyptic atmosphere with crushing riffs and dark moods. The transitions between the two can sometimes be abrupt and jarring, but this works with the music’s angular intensity, never sounding out of place or incorrectly handled.
The cover versions are reinterpreted as miasmas of blackened horror, dark deadliness and bleak narrative.
As for the singer? Well, he still sounds like he’s drilling into your head with his sharp screams. There’s a manic, unhinged edge to his voice that speaks of danger and impending carnage, and these feelings bleed out into the music that’s already dark and violent enough as it is.