Since the release of Bestial last year, hardcore rock band Black Cobra has been one vicious critter. The guys have toured all over the United States and Europe and left most of their audiences with their mouths agape and scared shitless. They hail from South Florida (the Bay Area is home now), and their latest release, Feather and Stone, dives deeply into the pools of metal hell, clocking in eight tracks in a mere 25 minutes. The sludge-punk-hardcore on the album is on a par with Black Cobra's prior efforts, and it's incorporating more experimental metal-meets-pyschedelia effects on songs like "Thanos" without allowing the energy level to wane. Rafael Martinez continues to deliver as a classic drummer who maintains the beat and fills appropriate spaces with a sniper's cruelty. Jason Landrian, now relocated to Oakland, California (closer to Martinez's San Fran digs), is on point with his guitar work and guttural vocals. Easy standouts are the napalm scorchers "Five Daggers," "Dragon and Phoenix," and "Ascension." There's nothing short of shrapnel flying out of the speakers for most of the album as the band begs to be played at dangerous levels. Its past accomplishments might help explain the tightness and compression of the tracks: Martinez performed with California's legendary 16 and tours with Acid King, while Landrian earned his wings with Miami's mighty Cavity. It seems Black Cobra is finally beginning to reap the rewards of the hard work it's put in over the years. A promising future looms for these former South Floridians, but don't be fooled — music this heavy and good could've been bred only in our swamps.
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