When I first listened to BLACK COBRAís "Feather And Stone" album, I was instantly reminded of the primeval and sludgy "Remission" style MASTODON material. Absolutely huge sounding low tuned guitar riffs with a shit ton of groove, relentless drumming with equal parts finesse and substance, and incredibly raw vocals with a take no prisoners attitude.
"Feather And Stone" is the second full length album from San Francisco, California based Sludge band BLACK COBRA. The band is made up of just two members, Jason Landrian on guitar and vocals, and Rafael Martinez on drums. Itís apparent right from the first track "Five Daggers" what kind of album "Feather And Stone" is going to be. Just a flat out aural assault from begriming to end. Granted there are a few clean sections thrown in to break up the action, namely the spacey sounding instrumental "Thanos," but for the most part this album is nothing but riff after riff of infectious groove and heaviness. The thick, bass heavy guitar tone makes the already huge riffs sound even bigger and is perfect for this style. Itís not a clean and pretty tone by any means, but "Feather And Stone" is anything but a clean and pretty album.
Rafael Martinezís drumming on this album really reminds me of MASTODONís Brann Dailor, and thatís undoubtedly a huge compliment. You can definitely hear similarities in their playing styles such as how each of them use a number of quick and differing fills throughout the songs which really helps to accent the straight up heavy drum parts. Both play with a ton of groove and have a certain complexity that really makes the straightforward guitar riffs a lot more interesting. Not to say that the riffs arenít interesting, but the drumming is really the one thing that stands out musically and technically on "Feather And Stone."
Itís unfortunate that the album clocks in at only a bit over 25 minutes in length. Sure itís 25 minutes of great music that will kick your ass and pound you into submission (in a good way), but for a full length album, thatís just way too short. If there were another 10-15 minutes of music here I would have scored the album significantly higher, but it almost feels more like an EP rather than a full length album. Having said that, if youíre a fan of this style of music, "Feather And Stone" is a must have album. Even if you arenít, this is an album worth checking out despite the short run time, just make sure you listen to it nice and LOUD!
(Online December 5, 2007)