Year of the Cobra – …in the Shadows Below


Man, if I could get all the right documents and permits together, I’d move to Seattle in a heartbeat. It’s got a great food scene, my favourite football team, and some seriously heavy bands like Year of the Cobra, a husband/wife bass/drums stoner/doom duo, which just released its debut album on STB Records.  Coming off as a cross between early OM and latter-day Jucifer, …in the Shadows Below is one heavy vegetable!

The albums kicks off with “Lion and the Unicorn,” a seven-minute slab of fuzzy Sleep worship, with traces of the procedural sludge/doom of Zoroaster’s Dog Magic thrown in for good measure. Hard to miss the guitar with such a heavy, head-nodding bass riff built right in—they also employ plenty of wah to added effect. Vocals don’t kick in ‘till the 4:20 mark (for reals!), and the languid, mournful cries fit in perfectly. Closing track “Electric Warrior” is an effective bookend, another seven-minute number anchored by a great, doomy bass riff, though this one is much more vocal-driven.

The sickly-sweet vocal approach of “The Siege” brings earlier Jucifer to mind, as does its rumbling, bass-driven attack. (Of course, there is no bass in Jucifer—but they’ve got a whole buncha bass cabs, so…) “Vision of Three” kinda reminds me of Candlemass in its doomy approach—before it drops off into a sparse, vocal-driven verse. But I’ll be damned if that bass-as-guitar riff doesn’t just ooze pure doom! On the other hand, the frantic, fast-paced, punky intro of “Persephone” has visions of High on Fire and shirtless Matt Pike riffing in my head…but then they slow things down and soften up somewhat, relying on a thumping groove-metal bass line to advance the proceedings before finishing with one final, 30-second flourish.

While “White Wizzard” is somewhat reminiscent of Jex Thoth, particularly in the vocal department, this band is a million miles removed from female-fronted, cookie-cutter occult doom. I’d probably pound a few hypothetical Rainiers at their future gigs.

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for

7.5 Rating