Cobalt
Gin

2007s Eater of Birds was a watershed release for this Colorado duo, firmly putting them in the very forefront of USBM along the likes of Nachtmystium, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Krallice and the long awaited follow up, Gin will further cement the duo as one of the very best forward thinking, envelope shredding purveyors of black metal that the US has to offer.

Though further pushing the levels of experimentation and what black metal sounds like, Gin though not as experimental as the ambience filled recent EP, still pushing the boundaries of traditional black metal and extreme music for that matter. Culling from all sorts of outside influences from Tool to Ennio Morricone, Gin simply challenges listener’s expectations of what black metal is, but still retains black metal’s underlying hues and atmospheres.

From the title, the Ernest Hemmingway cover and guest appearance from Jarboe, to the use of chants, programming, a tangible Old West vibe and even an almost chain gang sounding ditty (a hidden track at the end of the album), Gin is unpredictable, unconventional but at the same time utterly brilliant as it cuts a swathe not unlike Assassins: Black Meddle pt 1 in its progressive, genre bending path.

Breaking down the album is a tall order (as is most Profound Lore material) and really must be heard to be appreciated rather than conveyed in words. Opener “Gin” is a multi layered, sepia hued journey into sublime psychedelic riffage that ebbs, build and climaxes in a drunken flailing fit. The languid duo of “Dry Body” and “Arsonry” see Cobalt chant and sway with a hazy abandon and juniper scented experimentation while retaining an underlying sense of foreboding and spurts of swirling, urgent and bold yet warm riffage, the complete opposite of most of black metal sterile and cold, calculated assaults.

With the first three tracks forging such high standards, the rest of the album has to try awfully hard to keep up but a hypnotic interlude (“Throat”), almost Mastodon-ish gait of instrumental “A Clean, Well Lit Place” and raucous punk fueled standout “Pregnant Insect” (with just a killer climax) keep the albums middle section interesting a varied. However, the albums last couple of tracks (the rangy “Two Thumbed Fist”, “A Starved Horror”) seem a bit familiar and recycled, if still enthralling. After some extended silence the afore mentioned hidden track closes things out with a truly off the wall, end note, but its oddly hypnotic.

Once again Profound Lore has upped the ante with one of their releases, and Cobalt have proven that Eater of Birds was no fluke and released a black metal album for true connoisseurs of extreme music.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 3rd, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    Nice review, Erik. This sounds killer. I should check into these guys and stop putting it off.


  2. Commented by: Nick A.

    Fuck this album is good. I feel Nachtmystium culled Pink Floyd and crust punk anthems for Assassins, whereas, as you detailed, this album feels even more progressive, appropriating a wider variety of musical styles. I suppose it still works within the framework of black metal, but I don’t know how the novice could discern that. My question: was this really only made for by two people?


  3. Commented by: PFL

    Erik Wunder played all the instruments on Gin (along with doing lead vocals on “Dry Body”) and pretty much wrote the entire album, and Phil did the vocals.


  4. Commented by: Dan

    As far as experimental black metal is concerned, I find Cobalt more musically interesting than Nachtmystium. ‘Assassins’ was a daring album for sure, and as a fellow metal scribe I always appreciate something that is challenging to digest and analyze, but a few months on, it hasn’t had much staying power. In the end I think it was kind of a lazy album.


  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    wow tastes really do vary – I did not enjoy this very much at all. made me want to listen to Ludicra instead, I think a song like In fever off Fex Urbis is way more kickass than anything I heard here.

    then again I was not a huge fan of Eater of Birds, no matter how many times I tried to get into it.


  6. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I think eater of birds is the better album, but this si still quality

    In truth Aemseours and Altar of Plagues are better


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