Black Cobra


Southern Lord 2011

The burly beast that is LA's Black Cobra return with their fourth studio album, and it is a monster.  The rolling riffs that open the album on Avalanche are ferocious and announce to the listener the beating they are in store for.  The sludgy, Entombed-esque qualities are still to be found in the songs but this album seems to have taken the intensity of the previous albums and amped it up a notch.  Landrian's vocals have a phrasing and roughness that brings to mind The Mind era Al Jourgensen.  Somnae Tenebrae bounds out of your speakers before Avalanche has even completed, allowing no time to catch your breath.  This song possesses an even heavier set of riffs that sound like a cross between Discharge and Warmaster era Boltthrower.  A total bulldozer of a track.  A subtle melody is buried beneath the sludge and crust of the song's midsection.  After a delicate clean guitar, Corrosion Fields slowly churns through mammoth riffs and Voivodian dissonance for a song that is moody and menacing.  The track builds to a stomping groove that borders on droney ambience.  The Crimson Blade shifts betweens meaty, swaying riffs and almost catchy melodic statements that close the gap between Black Cobra and pop-punk.  When you take this song at face value, this comparison makes little sense, but dig deeper and you will hear what I mean.  And I love the fragile clean guitar that brings the track to a close.  Beyond is a charging boiler that quickly bubbles over into a hammering session that rams its sharp snares right through your skull.  The guitars crush your dying corpse under their mighty weight.  Throughout the album Landrian's vocals continue to spit anger and contempt.  Black Cobra has delivered their most diverse and best album to date.  It is a testament to their songwriting abilities that they have been able to expand their sound while remaining true to their foundation and each song is distinctly BLACK COBRA.