Black Cobra

Feather and Stone

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Knowing full well that no one can rip ragged heavy metal riffs out of a Les Paul better than High on Fire's Matt Pike, their disciples in Black Cobra did the next best thing and cranked Jason Landrian's six-string through some seriously distorted fuzz pedals, thereby also conveniently concealing the fact that they never bothered to hire a bass player for these and prior sessions. Rather, the duo is competently completed by powerhouse drummer Rafael Martinez, who motors carnivorous sludge metal tracks like "Five Daggers," "Below the Cusp," "Red Tide," and the especially pulverizing "Dragon & Phoenix" at an uncommonly fast pace (all are topped with Landrian's bleeding-throat screams, incidentally). What little restraint can be found amid all this viscous wrath figures in the pint sized melodic passage prefacing yet another stunning metallic tantrum called "The Saphire Falcon," and a Kyuss-like interlude of liquid guitar psychedelics named "Thanos." Otherwise, Black Cobra only shows additional restraint during the elaborate riff sequences heard on closing tandem "Ascension" and "Swords for Teeth," which reveal their inspirational debt to Mastodon. Nevertheless, one is left wanting more when the mini-album wraps after only 30 minutes.

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