Black Cobra
"Feather and Stone"

(At A Loss Recordings 2007)Black Cobra - Feather and Stone

There are lots of cool things someone can do with a partner. Enjoying a lovely picnic lunch replete with fine Merlot and aged cheese, perhaps a friendly match of tennis, or even retiring to one's bedchambers are all leisure activities best done in the company of another. Making burly-ass metal as a duo, though, is a trickier proposition. So imagine my surprise at the wall of sound that batters me when I fire up "Feather and Stone" from San Francisco two-piece Black Cobra.

What they lack in band members, they make up for with a big sound consisting of meaty guitar filled with low end and dynamic drumming that more than stands on its own as a rhythm section. Sonically, Black Cobra plays in the same neighborhood as bands like Mastodon and High on Fire; the music may sound raw or unpolished, but there's plenty of ferocity and big, smartly written riffs. The circular drone of "Below the Cusp" sounds like something straight from "Leviathan," while "Dragon and Phoenix" nicely replicates the skuzzy groove of HoF. That's not to say Black Cobra's ripping anybody off; most of "Feather and Stone" is both more stonerific than Mastodon and more venomous than Matt Pike's crew.

The album may be on the short side, but there's no filler on "Feather and Stone." From the opening salvo of "Five Daggers" to the closing snarl of "Swords for Teeth," there's nary a clunker to be found. Some people may be turned off by Jason Landrian's sandpapery yowl, but if you're on board this far into the review, that shouldn't be a problem. So the next time you crack open a bottle of wine, or whatever the hell else I was going on about a few paragraphs up, grab a partner and some Black Cobra and feel free to rock on out.


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