Cobalt is a two-piece black metal band hailing from the United States. They have a surprisingly full and "polished" sound that sets them apart from other black metal bands that I have been privy to hear. Eater of Birds is the band's (from what I have gathered) second full-length and showcases a marked improvement from their first full-length (War Metal for those looking to search it out later).
Holy black metal is correct; the real mellow sounds that initially start "When Serpents Return" lull you into a stupor that is blasted away by frenetic guitars and pounding drums. I was surprised by the groove that Cobalt lay down in the song. "Ulcerism" feels like a crushing wall of sound as it thunders out of the speakers. I like the way that this outfit "takes its time" with riffs and lets the sound really take up space within the song. Cobalt does allow for breathing from the usual metal onslaught that they unleash by interspersing acoustic pieces that at times are accompanied by ambient sounds, disconcerting noises, and creepy vocals (see all three "Ritual Use of Fire" tracks for examples). I would be remiss not to mention that "Invincible Sun" (which might be my favorite track on the record) and "Androids, Automatons, and Nihilists" have guest vocals from Jarboe (Swans, World of Skin, also collaborated with Neurosis). "Invincible Sun" is a punishing track that is heavy but shows off the imagination of the two members of Cobalt well. Jarboe really adds an ethereal beauty to "Androids, Automatons, and Nihilists" with her soaring vocals while the song itself is extremely moody and generally terrific sounding; the band did an excellent job with its arrangement.
Cobalt's Eater of Birds truly shocks me. Then again, I am not a tremendous aficionado of black metal. From what I have heard though, this record does stand out amongst other albums in the genre in terms of production quality. Regardless, Profound Lore is releasing one challenging album after another right now. Every release of theirs that I have reviewed has repeatedly beaten my expectations and Cobalt's Eater of Birds is no different.
7.0 / 10
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