Year Of The Cobra's breakthrough in the stoner-doom world


Band: Year Of The Cobra
Title: Ash And Dust
Year: 2019
Country: U.S.A.
Label: Prophecy Productions
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  1. The Battle Of White Mountain
  2. The Divine
  3. Ash And Dust
  4. Demons
  5. Into The Fray
  6. At The Edge
  7. Dark Swan
  8. In Despair

I have to admit that in 2016 the debut by Year Of The Cobra passed under my radar: …In The Shadows Below (released by STD Records) was a pretty solid stoner-doom album, foreshadowing many of the things that we are going to talk about here. In fact, the Seattle-based act back then worked with the ubiquitous Billy Anderson on production (known for having collaborated with such bands as Neurosis, Sleep, and Swans just to name a few) and, with that album, laid some extremely thick foundations for their future artistic endeavors.

From that moment, the duo consisting of Amy Tung (vocals, bass and keyboards) and Jon Barrysmith (drums) has never stopped. With the following EP Burn Your Dead, Year Of The Cobra continued perfectioning an increasingly diverse sound, attracting the attention of the German label Prophecy Productions. Their second record Ash And Dust was preceded by the release of the hardcore-tinged hit single “Into The Fray” over the summer, and since then my expectations skyrocketed.

“Battle Of White Mountain” offers an overview of the Seattle couple’s vision, with its clear doom matrix, led by the extremely heavy (and full of effects) bass guitar played by Tung, alternatively taking up both rhythm and lead duties, as well as the vocals with notable versatility. Barrysmith once again proves to be perfectly capable of dealing with slow and heavy blows, but he’s always ready to rumble when necessary (“Ash And Dust”). Throughout the eight songs of this record, Year Of The Cobra‘s hardcore punk background emerges quite frequently, supplying a rare drive for this kind of albums, so much so that at times you might probably ask yourself how it is possible for just two musicians to put up a carnage of this scale.

There is no lack of catchier sections, and generally speaking variety has increased since their previous work (a particular mention to the ballad coming up in the second half, “At The Edge”), as the two musicians are now definitely in control of the frightening reptile that inspired them. Long story short, Ash And Dust is a highly recommended album for listeners of stoner and doom, but can actually be a pleasant surprise also for people who don’t exactly live on bread, Ufomammut, and Electric Wizard. Unfortunately, I missed out on Year Of The Cobra‘s late 2019 European tour, but I hope to be able to make up for it and see them live as soon as possible.