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Black Cobra: Chronomega

Considering that Bay Area sludgy doomsters Black Cobra are a two piece they make a mightily impressive racket. With Jason Landrian on guitars and vocals partnering drummer Rafael Martinez, who also plays bass in Acid King, for what is the band's third full release and their first for the Southern Lord label.

Even without the aid of a bass guitar, Black Cobra produce an intensely heavy, dark wall of doom, albeit a version of doom metal that isn't afraid to up the tempo from time to time, which not only helps keep the interest, but also in it's own way increases the sludginess of the sound. With Billy Anderson (Melvins/Neurosis) producing Chronomega, the scope of the sound on the album is surprisingly strong and full. The guitars are huge and focused which gives the feel of Helmet to much of the music on the album, although with a little more straight ahead brutality.

Vocally Landrian also puts in an impressive display with his controlled sneer and sharp delivery making a pleasant change from the usual growly monster vocals that have become all too evident in nearly all types of heavy music at the moment and it's to his credit that he resists the temptation to follow the trend.

Behind the kit Martinez puts in a fine performance and considering he only has one single guitar to work off, his ability to know when to keep it simple and when to stretch things out is vital to the success of Black Cobra. Too many frills and he would overtake the music, whereas too few and before too long the lack of colour would strangle the blunt attack.

Chronomega works best when Black Cobra mix things up a little like on "Zero Point Field" where the sludgy riff is broken up with staccato drum fills and a rangy guitar line, when the track build towards the end the tension is almost unbearable. The fuzzy buzz saw guitar of "Chronosphere" is also meaty enough to demand your attention and illustrates Martinez's flair for letting his sticks fly while nailing the beat to the floor perfectly.

Unfortunately the ability to make all nine of the tracks quite so memorable isn't always maintained and even after repeated listens too much of Chronomega just whizzes by without managing to dig it's claws into your brain and while for the large part having a two man attack is not a problem, there are a few times when something more would have made a big difference to proceedings.

This is a worthy effort from Black Cobra that deserves to raise the band's profile, however a few more real hit you between the eyes tracks will be needed to take then onto the next level.

Track list:
1. Negative Reversal
2. Machine
3. Catalyst
4. Chronosphere
5. Zero Point Field
6. Lightning in his Hand
7. Storm Shadow
8. Glacies En Spiritu
9. Nefarian Triangle

Added: October 19th 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2912
Language: english

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