Music News

Black Cobra

Time and space are inconsequential, and the proof is in the cobra — Black Cobra. Despite living on opposite ends of the country, South Florida expatriates Jason Landrian (guitars/vocals, now a New Yorker) and Rafael Martinez (drums, now a Californian) are as tight as they ever were. Since first joining forces in Miami's defunct Pointe Blank, the duo has carried on through relocations and other commitments. Working through the mailing services (digital and organic) and setting aside a few weeks of the year to practice and tour has yielded their first full-length effort, Bestial — 36 minutes of unrelenting, spine-crushing, fetus-killing, sludge hardcore.

Black Cobra doesn't need studio effects, just the volume knobs cranked up really high. Bestial's opening track, "One Nine," immediately charges at a break-neck punk-thrash pace that's equally heavy on the cymbal crashes and the guitar riffage. The vocals are desperate and raw — missives from a painful place. Black Cobra fall slightly short of actually dismembering themselves, but it's clear that Landrian and Martinez are pouring it all out with all they've got. The duo even verges into bilingual areas with the one-two punch of "El Doce de Octubre" and "Sombra de Bestia." This thick descent into the maelstrom is not without its moments of tamed musical beauty ("Beneath," for example). But those moments seldom last long enough to convince the listener that everything's A-OK. No. The untamed beast here is their collaboration, and they are in control enough to channel the monster through their instruments. Maybe there's a reason they live so damned far apart.

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Abel Folgar