Black Cobra - Invernal
Southern Lord
Sludge Metal
8 songs (39:41)
Release year: 2011
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Goat

Those currently wishing that Mastodon would return to their rougher, darker past will have a field day when they discover Black Cobra. Distinctly riff-heavy, crushingly heavy and with a sound that’s closer to Remission than a lung cancer survivor with a five-pack-a-day habit, Invernal is the Californian duo’s fourth full-length and is an absolute blast. High On Fire are another good comparison, the band having toured with Pike & co, but are less about highness and more about the doomy thunder that rockets out from each minute. I’m always amazed at power duos, at how a single guitar/bass and drummer can make more noise rocking than bands with double the members – yet that’s how it is, the essential riff-hewn purity of doom here, as elsewhere, distilled to two very intense individuals crushing your eardrums.

The results are quite spectacular, the epic Corrosion Fields especially noteworthy for taking the time to develop its towers of riffage before it brings them crashing down on the listeners’ head. It’s not always like that, as blunt-edged cuts like Avalanche and Erebus Dawn prove with their shouty, cathartic stomp. The slow heaviness of Beyond’s introduction grasps at the likes of Cult Of Luna, before launching into a speedy charge, and the melancholic-flecked groove of Abyss and virtual grind of Obliteration bring the album to a violent close. This may not be original, but by god do Black Cobra put their heart and soul into it, and Invernal is a stunning slice of sludge brutality. If they kill this much on record, they must absolutely annihilate live...

Killing Songs :
Corrosion Fields, The Crimson Blade, Beyond, Abyss
Goat quoted 78 / 100
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