Year of the Cobra – Ash and Dust (Review)

Year of the Cobra - Ash and DustThis is the second album from US doomsters Year of the Cobra.

I always enjoy Year of the Cobra’s work. Both …in the Shadows Below and Burn Your Dead were characterful displays of doom metal, played with skill and talent. As such, I’m pleased by the band’s return on Ash and Dust; 41 minutes of guitar-free doom anthems.

Yep, guitar-free. If you haven’t encountered Year of the Cobra before, that always makes an impression. The band create a large, formidable sound with just bass, drums, and vocals, and these songs have everything you need with only these humble, yet potent, ingredients. There’s a depth here that a lot of bands are unable to replicate, even with more members and instruments.

Stoner grooves and rolling riffs power the songs forward, the sound of the bass as satisfying as it is thick. The drums underpin everything, providing a reliable and capable beat that keeps the songs in line. The vocals are performed with passion and emotion, courtesy of the band’s very able singer. Her voice has good range and personality, and is capable of delivering on all of the goals that the band set for themselves; from playful to powerful, to ethereal and dreamy, she can do it all convincingly.

Year of the Cobra’s songwriting is very strong, and there’s a good balance between the instant gratification of hooks and catchiness, and the longevity of atmosphere and mood. Within the band’s style this is a diverse and nicely differentiated release. Mid-paced stoner doom is the main order of business, but we also get other musical explorations, such as punk and grunge, as well as the use of synths here and there.

Very impressive, and very enjoyable. I’d say this is probably Year of the Cobra’s best work so far. Highly recommended.

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