It 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.
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.