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CD Review: BLACK COBRA – Feather and Stone

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blackcobra featherandstoneIt is peculiar how two people can rock this much.  Consider Black Cobra's bi-bodied brethren: The Spinanes and Mates of State (not that rocking); The Evens and Local H (sort of rocking); The White Stripes (more rocking), Jucifer (yet more rocking), Big Business (pretty goddamn rocking).  These are girlie men (and women), however, next to Black Cobra's Hans and Franz.

Originally a bi-coastal experiment, this San Francisco duo has honed and nearly perfected a now-familiar sound – the pummeling sludge of Unsane, Melvins, High on Fire, Lair of the Minotaur, et al.  Black Cobra's contribution is a singularity of force that results from a stripped-down lineup.  Thus, cut away meanderings from The Melvins and mystical shit from High on Fire.  Black Cobra wield only riffs, drums, and howls, solos be damned.

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Yet Feather and Stone is perfectly named.  Its 25 minutes are surprisingly varied.  Clean tones break up the beatdowns of "Thanos" and "Dragon and Phoenix."  Hypnotic, palm-muted menace introduces "Ascension."  These lighter moments make the heaviness heavier; "Red Tide" drops like a tornado after "Thanos."  Jason Landrian's scarred throat recalls Ministry's Al Jourgensen, while Rafael Martinez punishes both drum heads and eardrums.  "Below the Cusp" throws tritones like elbows; "Swords for Teeth" feels like a brawl between very large men.

But Black Cobra aren't that big.  And they kick the asses of "blackened death-tech-core" bands with five posers and a gratuitous model on keyboards.  From now on, there's no excuse for not rocking hard enough.

8/10

Black Cobra on MySpace
At a Loss Recordings

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