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2009 album from the Colorado blackened avant-war Metal duo, their most accomplished and ambitious release to date. The duo of Erik Wunder and Phil McSorley (who is currently deployed in Iraq) have delivered what will undoubtedly be seen as one of the most monumental and crushing albums of 2009.

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  • I can be counted as one of the (seemingly) many who weren’t aware of Cobalt until the material supporting Gin hit the web and the metal magazines of the world. Eric Wunder and Phil McSorley are two guys with very interesting points of view and dynamic thoughts on life in general, and the press got me interested enough to purchase Eater of Birds, which I found to be a unique and compelling manifestation of metal.

    Gin, in that vein, is a pummeling album that cannot be divided into anything less than its full sum; I can’t imagine listening to one or two individual tracks. It would be incorrect to define Cobalt’s sound as straight-up black metal, but their “blackened” metal exudes the core qualities of the genre: Cobalt celebrates strength, expresses some deeply held anger, and tells the world just how little they regard the established order and status quo.

    Cobalt has made a monolithic ten-track record that often seems impenetrable, but after repeated listenings offers greater and greater reward to the listener. Most people listening to this will not immediately be able to decipher the Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway tribute that Wunder and McSorley emphasize – I sure didn’t hear it at first – but the spirit of this music can be summed up as “gonzo” in the vein of Thompson, focused (and perhaps homogenous) like Hemingway’s writing, and in general uninhibited, angry, and expressive of the liberty that both writers embraced. Fifty tracks of silence follow the ten proper songs, and the album concludes with a railroad work gang song (which is, needless to say, unique).

    This is an album that bears inherent similarity to Eater of Birds, but further demonstrates Cobalt’s creativity in a flowing, organic way. Gin continues the tradition of excellence – and displays the unique perspective – of one of the rising bands in American metal. With Gin, Cobalt has recorded another highly interesting album that gives new voice to the traditional vitriol of black metal while leaving its meaning open to interpretation.

    Posted on January 20, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This two-piece band creates a very full, original and epic sound that sounds nothing like any other band you’ve ever heard of. Sure, you may be able to hear elements and influences from other bands, but this hybrid genre hopping band craft a jewel all their own.

    While I can hear the Black Metal influence, through trademark blast beats and shrieking vocals, ‘Gin’ is a mish mash of various styles. One moment you’ll hear a traditional sounding Black Metal passage, the next a tribal Tool inspired jam out, and finally a tripped out quiet moment full of chanting and crooning; its quite a diverse album, and much more realized and progressive than Cobalt’s previous efforts. First of all, ‘Gin’ sounds nothing like previous Cobalt albums. There is a heavy Tribal-Metal vibe not unlike Tool. Black Metal still comprises the main sound, but the drums are much more adventurous, complex, and all over the place in terms of genres.

    The drum work here is simply amazing, and easily the star of the show, switching genres and styles on the fly, never sounding constrained or held back. Drum sticks fly over toms at lightning speed, very reminiscent of Danny Carey, there is boundless double bass, blast beats, death metal patterns: you name it, this guy does it, and does it very well. There are so many amazing tribal breakdowns on this album led by the drummer, and they simply blow my mind every time I hear them.

    The guitar riffs seem at times both simplistic and deep, either locked in a groove or participating in Black Metal tremelos and gloomy riffs. The vocals come in three different forms: Black Metal shrieks, chanting, and some rare singing. While its all pretty good, some of the lyrics seem silly. I was very disappointed that they didn’t add in some bass guitar. I think I heard bass in maybe one song, while the rest of them were devoid of that essential bass guitar sound field, which would round out their sound even more.

    Any complaints I may have with the lyrics do nothing to diminish the overall quality of this album though, even with its raw production ‘Gin’ is an epic listen with some of the most impressive drumming I have ever heard. ‘Gin’ is surely Cobalt’s finest album, their epic masterpiece and is recommended to all metal heads and music lovers.

    Posted on January 20, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Sometimes when bands release new albums, they start in a new and mystical direction that’s completed devoid of where they were at before…

    … with Cobalt however, they’re picking up exactly where they left off before with their previous release, Eater of Birds. What you’re seeing here is the duo (yes… just TWO of them!) continuing to further embark upon the “war metal” sound they’ve been developing since their inception (and that’s not just a cute name for it; their guitarist/singer actively serves in the U.S. Armed Forces and recorded his portions of the CD when he was on leave… that’s hella impressive!)

    The music is very expressive. They have the tendency to blend and balance soft, expressive acoustic guitars along with blistering riffs and some extremely intense drumming (drummers: there were plenty of blastbeats and double bass, but not to the point where it ever overtook the song.) When I heard this album, it made me think of Tool’s “Lateralus” and Immortal’s “At The Heart of Winter” (there’s also an element of Neurosis influence on here but that should be expected considering how great their influence has been to the genre of post-metal.) When I say that, I mean that these guys do a pretty good job at mixing sludge metal, black metal, and progressive metal together for a sound that sets them apart from other metal bands out there, and it rules!

    So with that said, if you’re a fan of Immortal, Neurosis, black metal, progressive metal, or an open-minded fan of Tool (meaning the kind of Tool fan that enjoys either The Melvins, Meshuggah, Tomahawk, Isis, or any combination of the above), this album is worth getting. Do check it out.

    Posted on January 20, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now