This monstrosity of an album is more accurately described by the Kraken-type creature of its cover art than you would probably imagine. Roughly categorisable as sludge doom metal, the L.A. two-piece outfit (not that kind of two-piece outfit) Black Cobra consists of Jason Landrian's distressingly heavy guitars and distorted screams with Rafael Martinez's drums setting the changeable pace from fast and relatively upbeat to torturously slow and staggered. Seemingly inspired by the likes of Acid Bath and sludge bands that have persisted in tuning their guitars to a lower frequency than the human ear can comfortably detect without leading to serious brain damage in later life, Black Cobra is a mostly instrumental, entirely irresistible band, and 'Bestial' is a truly beastly release.
What's so impressive about this album is the way it's arranged, for the most part, as a single, extended song divided into movements rather than individual songs, as each track down to 'The Cry of Melora' leads seamlessly into the next. Rather than making the whole thing sound repetitive, this actually helps to make songs stand out more than they would after a brief silence, as can be seen with the slightly less impressive second half of the album that makes weird use of extended silences occasionally lasting for a couple of minutes at a time, and although the entire album is only thirty-five minutes long, this at least means that each song has been tightly edited, silence anomalies aside.
This is loud and heavy music of the form that can usually only be found in the Southern states, and sludge fans will find all the satisfaction they need here, as the riffs are maintained to the agonising point where it sounds like standing next to a plane's engine that's about to suck your sorry ass in. There's no pattern here to the speed and style changes, most evident in the wildly changeable 'The Cry of Melora' that refuses to be pinned down to a rhythm, but the listener can rest assured that any slow, monstrous dirge will soon be followed up by a faster section to relieve the tension, especially at the changeover point between tracks when the successor jumps into life. As noted earlier, the album becomes a little less engrossing from track seven onwards, though it regains its life by the end, but the first half made for one of the most sickeningly enthralling musical experiences I've had in a long time. Best of all, it only takes about fifteen minutes.
1. One Nine
2. Thrown From Great Heights
3. El Equis
6. The Cry of Melora
7. Broken on the Wheel
8. Sugar Water
9. El Doce De Octubre
10. Sombra De Bestia
1.One Nine / 2.Thrown From Great Heights / 3.El Equis / 4.Beneath / 5.Omniscient / 6.The Cry Of Melora / 7.Broken On The Wheel / 8.Sugar Water / 9.El Doce De Octubre / 10.Sombra De Bestia / 11.Kay-Dur-Twenty