Year of the Cobra- …In the Shadows Below
Review by Brian Kim
Year of the Cobra are a band that have consistently been impressing me since the first time I saw them perform live. They take the bare bones of the drum and bass two-piece setup and manage to create a sound more dynamic and full than many others in the field of doom/stoner rock. With their debut full length, …In the Shadows Below, Year of the Cobra are taking riff-worshipping rock and roll to its most exciting and potent edges.
The album begins with “Lion and the Unicorn”, a sprawling seven minute journey that begins with dense, drawn out waves of sustained fuzz and feedback washing over pummeling drums before launching into an anthemic, Sabbath-inspired, riff-fest. Another few minutes of smokey, head-bang-inducing, throw-up-the-horns-inspiring heavy rock and roll leads the song to collapse in a haze of fuzzed out bass and vocalist/bassist Amy Tung Barrysmith’s haunting vocals, echoing amidst the ocean of distortion like a siren beckoning doomed ships at sea. Thankfully, this song isn’t heading into funeral territory, and ramps back up with drummer Jon Barrysmith’s feverish rhythms to end on an energized note. Songs like “Vision of Three” burn slowly with loud-quiet-loud dynamics, dropping from smoldering verses into vast, crushing choruses. Meanwhile, songs like “Persephone” and “Temple of Apollo” explode with adrenaline and punk-rock abandon. …In the Shadows Below is consistently solid all the way through, a cohesive, high-octane adventure through vintage heavy metal, doom, sludge, and stoner rock.
The production on the record is fantastic. Billy Anderson produced, engineered, and mixed the whole thing, and his work with acts like High on Fire, Sleep, and the Melvins seems to have rubbed off on …In the Shadows Below. The drums sound massive and powerful, each hit cuts through and around the monolithic wall of bass. The bass tones on this record are just as impressive, a wide range of deep, rumbling low-end with plenty of grit and teeth to take on leads, as well as a heaping dose of warm, enveloping fuzz to fill things out. The beauty of the streamlined two-piece ensemble really shines on this record, everything is clear and sounds loud, even at low volumes, although the higher decibels are where this record really needs to be heard at.
…In the Shadows Below is out now via STB Records and available on a variety beautiful 12” vinyl, as well as limited edition cassette tapes and CDs. This album is definitely putting Year of the Cobra on the map, I highly suggest you dig in now.