Black Cobra - Chronomega (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Black Cobra

Chronomega (2009)

Southern Lord

Black Cobra? More like Black Sabbath, amirite? Black Flag, right? Black Tusk, eh?

OK, so it's not particularly fruitful to just list off Black bands that may have some similarities to what's on Chronomega, but at least it follows a chain of logic that's hard to ignore when listening to the album.

Black Cobra isn't the name of an interracial porno, although it certainly could be. In this case, Black Cobra is a sludgy, riff-heavy Los Angeles metal band that simultaneously channels doom, stoner rock and hardcore punk on their third full-length, Chronomega.

Southern Lord is a nice fit for Black Cobra in that it's probably the label one would rationally associate with a band of this persuasion and abilities. Whether it be the influence of Paranoid-styled metal of Black Sabbath, My War sludge of Black Flag or pummeling jackhammer jams à la contemporaries Black Tusk, Chronomega shreds. From the first track, "Negative Reversal" through "Nefarian Triangle," Black Cobra weave their grooving guitars and sloshing rhythms through 40 minutes of music with only nine songs.

The lyrics are arranged in singular thoughts of fatalistic gloom that group together to amass a song's theme. Metalpunk ripper "Storm Shadow" sets the scene nicely with its apocalyptic visions: "Final disaster, world ceases to turn / Disintegration, decay / Ruined / Forest of lacerations / Tempest of approaching night / Crushing existence, finishing life."

The only complaints stem from the band's homogeny in styles. From song to song, the riffs tend to sound like they're repeating, while the vocal delivery maintains a consistent approach throughout the album. It's a small complaint, though, especially if the songs are being shuffled about on a computer or iPod.

Sludgy, grungy and probably stoned, Black Cobra gets dirty and redoubtable on Chronomega, a thoroughly gloomy and doomy release that will satisfy the inner pessimist in anyone.