Feather and Stone
At a Loss Recordings
Thick and sludgy the riffs plummet off a precipice and fall mightily upon your head like an avalanche of mud. Black Cobra devastates and pummels with leaden walls of sound leaving no one left standing on the first two tracks Five Daggers and The Sapphire Falcon. Below the Cusp start tediously in the same manner as its two predecessors before kicking into some rocking grooves. Groove seems to be the key word when picturing the vast majority of Black Cobra's material here. Feather and Stone like its title though is an experience in contrasts. Juxtaposed against those guitar driven monoliths are periods of calm and introspection. Thanos brings to mind a scorched landscape bereft of life or light through its desolate sounding string plucking. But none exemplify this contrast better than Dragon and Phoenix which hammers with thunderous grooves before minimalist plucking. Then, in a stroke of brilliance, they combine the two approaches for the most impressive moments of the album. Whereas a song like Red Tide is uninteresting as it surges along without much of goal other than to prove that speed can also surface from within this quagmire. The guitars prowl the down-tuned, Low-end of the spectrum and are fuzzed out to provide that mountain of sludge. Jason Landrian's vocals are screamed and feverish in their intensity have a cutting edge to them. The interplay of the drums and the guitars is akin to an explosion as they both burst at the same moment marking the up-tempo progression of each track. Black Cobra would fit well within the sludge/stoner/doom crowd though they seem to have a much more modern feel to them that helps them bridge the gap between that scene and fans of more mind expansive groups like Neurosis. Feather and Stone is not mind-blowing but is strong and pulses and throbs with a sinewy intensity that helps make up for material that is sometimes too repetitive.