Cobalt - War Metal
From Beyond Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (38:31)
Release year: 2005
From Beyond Productions
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

US two-piece Cobalt stormed onto the scene in 2003 with an EP, but it was debut full length War Metal that showed the world the band’s true promise. Whilst Eater Of Birds, the 2007 sophomore release from the Coloradans, gained the critical acclaim and is ultimately the superior album, there’s more than enough value to warrant hunting down the debut also. Consider Cobalt the best American Black Metal band that you’ve never heard of – not that the members would want the attention, but if they were seeking the spotlight they’d doubtlessly be cursing the fact that one of the duo is currently serving time in Iraq. Best wishes to him and all others over there – hurry home, guys and gals.

As you’d expect from the title, War Metal is a harsh blast of vitriolic darkness, much like what the larger names in the Australian scene are known for. Unlike them, however, Cobalt practises the art of songcraft, and tempers its fury with slower, atmospheric sections that, together with the rather uncanny artwork of a horse at night, elevates War Metal into something beyond what its name suggests.

There is no bass here. Guitar, drums and vocals form the attack, and are more than sufficient to brutalise the listener. Opener Hammerfight pulverises from the start, that classic Black Metal trebly riffing roaring over technical and varied drumwork. Both members’ vocals are little short of rabid but are tempered, used almost like another instrument, whilst the occasional melodic guitar section lifts the music away from the clichéd genre entirely. Acoustic guitars break up the bile, making this more than the Marduk clone Cobalt has been tagged as. Angelfangs takes a Thrashier turn, a mid-track section slowing and grooving in an almost Doom Metal fashion, whilst Raise The Hammer Of War makes Amon Amarth look craven in battle metal stakes and even touches on catchiness.

It’s ultimately towards the end of the listen that War Metal proves Cobalt’s skill beyond doubt, from the brief yet stunning falsetto vocals on World On Its Knees to the vicious catchiness of Summoning Of Napalm Mists. Eight-minute finale Empire Of The Moth gives hints of what is to come in terms of progression, as it fades into mysterious ambience. This is far more than a mere clone; Cobalt burns its own furious path. If you’re looking for Black Metal that pushes the boundaries, then tune in next week for an examination of 2007’s Eater Of Birds – otherwise, War Metal does everything that it says on the tin and more.

Killing Songs :
Hammerfight, Angelfangs, Raise The Hammer Of War, Empire Of The Moth
Goat quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Cobalt that we have reviewed:
Cobalt - Slow Forever reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Cobalt - Gin reviewed by Goat and quoted 95 / 100
Cobalt - Landfill Breastmilk Beast (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Cobalt - Eater Of Birds reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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