Black Cobra – Invernal (Southern Lord)

Saturday, 23rd March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Funny how two men can create more of a racket than a band with the usual four or five in its lineup, but that’s how Black Cobra rolls. The duo ofsinger/guitarist Jason Landrian and drummer Rafael Martinez have been making noise like nobody’s business for nearly ten years, along the way killing our eardrums with well-received albums like 2007’s Feather and Stone and 2009’s Chronomega. This year’s Invernal follows suit. No surprise there.

No real need for a bassist (in case you were wondering), as Landrian’s guitars are drenched in enough gain and distortion that it nearly makes his riffs inaudible. Of course, this is exactly what Black Cobra is aiming for, thus utilizing driving riffs to their advantage on the powerful “Avalanche.” On the flipside, one has to wonder if any novice guitar player can use the same guitar rig tactics to achieve BC’s sound – that’s how reckless Invernal sounds.

The band does itself a favor by altering the mood a bit with “Corrosion Fields,” where a rare clean guitar intro sets off what is easily the album’s best jam. More of this is needed though, for the album ends up recycling the same tone and feel for nearly every song, and Landrian’s one-dimensional yell/bark can get irksome as well.

Because Black Cobra is more interested in pummeling the listener than caressing it, Invernal emerges as another winner for Landrian and Martinez. Even though there’s hardly any traction or staying power with practically all of thesesongs, Black Cobra can still lay claim to being one of the underground’s more fearsome pairs. That counts for something in this day and age.

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