The Southern Lord label has been venturing outwards past their normal stoner and sludge metal bands in recent years, to feature a variety of different genres of metal and post-post something or others on their roster. But for me, it’s always exciting to put in an album from the label and hear the sound they’ve been known for for so many years now.
Black Cobra is certainly one of those bands you’d expect to hear on Southern Lord, two dudes that create a fucking racket with everything they touch playing ferocious sludge metal. Former Acid King drummer Rafa Martinez and Cavity’s guitarist Jason Landrian enter a room and annihilate it. They started out with two decent stoner albums released on At A Loss Recordings before Southern Lord picked them up for their 2009 release, Chronomega which is pretty much a lesson in how to get the loudest sounds out of just a drum and a guitar. And if you don’t know that record, you might know the name as they opened up for High on Fire at one point.
When I think stoner metal, I picture slow and heavy, eyes closed and rocking back and forth. That’s not present on their 4th disc, Invernal. Within the murkiness of riffs lies an element of hardcore. I’d much rather get into a pit and bash some skulls than sit on my porch and smoke up to this disc. “The Crimson Blade” is a great example of the styles blending together. The riffs are muddy and you feel like you’re in quicksand listening to them. But at the same time, you’re swingin’ your arms around trying to get out, grabbing a hold of and destroying anything that prevents you from doing so. And of course that violent destruction would also be present on the final track of the disc, appropriately called “Obliteration.” Lyrically, it’s about a “post-apocalyptic trek to a nuclear infested and mutated Antarctica.” Sounds like that place might very well need every amount of aggression that’s released on this album.
Black Cobra have yet to release a poor record but this is the second excellent one in a row. Sludge masters? Well, they’re getting there for sure.