Album Review: BLACK COBRA Imperium Simulacra
I lucked out in 2015 and got to see Black Cobra twice. I was struck by their performances, this is a band who are unafraid to bring in healthy doses of punk and drone into their distinct brand of metal the profoundly heavy music found on their latest release, the masterful Imperium Simulacra is a significant step forward for the group and hints at what these guys are truly capable of. Every riff hits like a sledgehammer and Jason Landrian's distinct vocal approach has taken on a new and punishing aura. Everything that made the band fascinating to me on previous releases is here, but now they have moved beyond prior limitations to write their own rules. There is something wonderfully dangerous about this new record and Black Cobra know it.
Raffa Martinez's relentless drum attack has taken on new highs on Imperium Simulacra, it's a sort of revolution on the bands traditional sound. That is not to say that this doesn't fit into the bands previous catalog but rather that it represents a significant step forward for an incredibly exciting band. Everything about this album fits into (And expands on) the profoundly weird mark on the scene that Black Cobra have been able to cultivate in recent years. The psychedelic magic and punishing grooves of the self titled track are a great example of this – the trademark guitar tone and style is still there but it feels like Black Cobra have been able to move above and beyond in order to create an album that you can come back to time and time again.
I think one of the things that has appealed to me about Black Cobra over the years is that their distinct sense of groove. The bluesy touches that seem to ring out despite everything else have made them a strangely addictive band. Imperium Simulacra sees them building on these classic ideas but never bringing them to the forefront. The slow builds and chaotic instrumental passages that define this record help to make Imperium Simulacra perhaps the bands most iconic release to date. As you explore their distinct sonic wastelands I feel like it becomes increasingly clear – Black Cobra aren't fucking around, they are slowly, but surely, reshaping the face of heavy music with a pummeling attack that proves their is a whole lot more behind this band than any of us can fully grasp.
The point I'm trying to make is that with every passing song on Imperium Simulacra I become more aware that Black Cobra are finally becoming the band that they were always meant to be. That's not to say that the previous material was bad, in fact I would say quite the opposite, Black Cobra have managed to conjure up something truly special here, something that pushes boundaries and shows that even a mere duo can take a profoundly simple form of music into places where it might have never otherwise been allowed to go. Black Cobra are insane, beautiful and strangely over the top. Fully in control of their own destinies, this is a band who aren't just destined for great things, they are making them happen even as we listen.