It has been ten years since Bay Area noise-mongers Black Cobra first began ripping faces off with their take on punk infused sludge/doom metal. The duo, consisting of Rafael Martinez and Jason Landrian, enlisted the help of Converge‘s Kurt Ballou and his God City Studios to record their fourth full-length album”Invernal”, the follow-up to 2009’s “Chronomega”.
“Invernal” kicks off with the intense ‘Avalanche’, fast paced, raw and most definitely in your face. There is almost an early Ministry feel to it, which in my humble opinion is certainly no bad thing.
Hailing from the Bay Area, San Francisco, Martinez and Landrian must have been influenced, either directly or indirectly, by the area’s prevalent Thrash scene, this can be heard in the track ‘Somnae Tenebrae,’ with its break-neck drumming and riff frenzy.With a distinct drop in tempo, ‘Corrosion Fields’ takes centre stage. It may be slower but in no way does it lose any of the intensity of the previous two tracks, in fact, ‘Corrosion Fields’ is probably a little more intense!
The opening riff from ‘The Crimson Blade’ would again easily grace the guitar of Al Jourgensen of Ministry. Landrian barks the lyrics with a ferocity matched only by the drums of Martinez before the track slides into classic doom territory towards the end. This continues with the opening bars of ‘Beyond,’ before it launches into a full aural assault bringing in elements of thrash, punk doom and sludge, creating a fierce wall of noise punctuated briefly with a moment of solitude.
‘Erebus Dawn’ erupts from the speakers with the, now trademark, Black Cobra thrash paced drumming and dynamic riffs, tightly wrapped in a veil of doom and sludge. It is a very simple formula but it is supremely effective. ‘Abyss’ harks back to more traditional doom with more than a passing nod the doom legends Crowbar, you could almost imagine Kirk Windstein crooning over the top. Closing out the album is ‘Obliteration’ and it more than lives up to it’s title… fast, heavy intense and more than a little brutal. The shortest track on the album but no less impressive, delivering its message in half the time than many of its counterparts.
“Invernal” is an must have album if you are of the doom/sludge persuasion but also like to dip your toes into things a little more punk or thrash. Black Cobra are hugely a deceptive band, they produce a noise that could easily be mistaken as a 5-piece but this is a duo… two men… simply brilliant!