Sweet Cobra - Forever [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Sweet Cobra

Forever [reissue] (2008)

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Tracing a band's influences doesn't always follow or equate to the band's own sound. That being said, listening to Sweet Cobra's Forever is a direct window into the band's lasting influences. Playing like a raucous `80s hardcore band like Born Against trying to cover "Paranoid" or "Symptom of the Universe" by Black Sabbath, Sweet Cobra's music is a punishing, straightforward barrage of hard riffs and dark imagery.

Steeped in sweat are the call-and-response style vocals of "Road Born Orphan" and the driving pulse of faster tracks like "Fucking Fertilizer" and "True Crime, True Criminal." But Sweet Cobra's specialty is taking simplistic riffs and playing them over and over again until they've driven them into your skull like a hammer and nail, convincing you that somehow they've played their guitars so hard that they magically transformed into some sort of doom/drone metal monster.

And such is the power of the song "Jackals & Arabs." It starts with a moderate driving drum beat that carries the song into a brooding drone that takes hold and puts you under the spell of Botchy Vasquez' single-note gruff shouting.

Let's clear something up here. The key Sweet Cobra experience everyone should be vying for is catching the band play live. Watching these dudes pound the shit out of the stage is an experience. No matter how awesome people say these dudes are, on stage they are working out some serious aggression issues. Symptoms may include repeatedly slamming the microphone into the ground and screaming so loud you can almost hear his voice over the guitars and dead eyed stares of reckless suffering directed towards the back of the room.

The band's last album, Praise, didn't exactly capture the essence of the band's live performance; Forever does. And with panache.