Black Cobra Album Review ‘Imperium Simulacra’

Black Cobra have been terrorising the metal scene with their unique blend of sludge, post- hardcore and the occasional doom element since 2001. The band, consisting only of two permanent members Rafa Martinez and Jason Landrian, made quite an impact with their down-tuned aural assault back in the day. The duo had taken somewhat of a time away from the band. Five years after the release of their previous record ‘Invernal’ and after a change of labels from Southern Lord Records to the underground force that is Season of Mist, Black Cobra are ready to unleash their newest album ‘Imperium Simulacra’.

The album starts with an absolute headbanger in the form of ‘Challenger Deep’. The track is hard and fast and even sometimes boarders to thrash metal with its fast riffing. On the other hand, there is the rather low-fi, down-tuned sound that Black Cobra stands for. The second track, the album title ‘Imperium Simulacra’, is another one of the faster tracks on the record. Firmly based on Black Cobra’s sludge roots the track also incorporates more of the hardcore elements that the duo has always used into their compositions.

With ‘Fathoms Below’ follows the longest and probably the most experimental track. The 8-and-a-half minute journey leads the listener through a myriad of thick doom riffs, some old-school sounds going back to Hawkwind and Black Sabbath and faster sludge passages. It is especially in those slower elements that it becomes obvious that Black Cobra have matured over the years. Their song writing has become more elaborate and is decorated with intricate little details all over.

black cobra album review

Throughout the remaining six tracks Black Cobra keep the quality levels right up where they started. ‘Eye Among The Blind’, ‘The Messenger’ and ‘Sentinel’ offer more of Black Cobra’s trademark sludge sound whereas ‘Black Shine’ is another doom hammer. Only ‘Obsolete’ falls behind just because of the over-use of the hi-hat that takes an overwhelming part in the short and otherwise good track. ‘Technical Demise’ is the optimal finish for a decent album. The track is another punch in the face with more of the punk attitude the band shows every now and then.

‘Imperium Simulacra’ is another solid album by Black Cobra. Throughout the nine songs the duo shows more variety than on previous releases. On the one hand, that might help Black Cobra to find new fans. On the other hand, the album contains a lot of the elements that die-hard fans love. In that regard Black Cobra stays true to their sound they have created over the last 5 years.

7.5/10

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