With the notable absence of Jucifer round these parts recently, Seattle-based husband-and-wife duo Year of the Cobra seem to be picking up the slack. The bass/drums combo combines the droning, doomy heaviness of the first few OM records with some sweet, almost soothing, melodic vocals for extra mindfuck, sounding more like the aforementioned Jucifer on record than in their harsher live setting.
After a solid debut effort in 2016’s …in the Shadows Below, and a very decent EP in 2017, the band is back with its second full-length album; eight tracks spanning 41 and a half minutes. The longest song on this record is seven-minute opening track “The Battle of White Mountain,” which opens with an Al Cisneros-style bassline, then brings in sickly sweet vocals for a more laidback verse before the heavy bassline returns for the chorus. There are no guitar solos in this outfit, but what might be considered a distorted bass solo makes an appearance around the four-minute mark – this is not nearly as bad as it sounds. ?
The rumbling bassline that begins “The Divine” reminds me of Pentagram’s “Forever My Queen,” but Bobby Liebling never hit these soaring high notes! The straightforward chug of “Ash and Dust” gives visions of Toronto’s long-running heavy rockers Nice Cat, especially in the vocal department, where they add a little extra sneer. Pound-for-pound, this might be the heaviest song on this record, with a buncha headbangable breakdowns thrown in for good measure.
Fans of the Dave Chandler school of doom will find a lot to like in “Demons,” with its downtrodden, plodding tempos, an eerie verse in the vein of Saint Vitus, and a gloomy chorus where they added an organ to the mix for additional skin-crawling effect. Pre-release single “Into the Fray” (see music video below) is another solid stomper, with the expected vocal-driven verse leading into yet another crunchy chorus, which contains the particularly memorable line “Go slooooow/stay looooow…”
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?