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Year of the Cobra - Ash and Dust Award winner

Year of the Cobra
Ash and Dust
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 21 November 2019, 4:49 AM

YEAR OF THE COBRA is a Doom Metal band from Seattle, Washington.  “Ash and Dust” is their second full length.  They have also released two EP’s and a Split.  An interesting fact about the duo is they don’t use guitar—this is strictly vocals, bass and drums all played by the husband and wife combo. It might be weird for some to imagine any band under the Rock pantheon, even Metal, to not use guitars but I assure you YEAR OF THE COBRA doesn’t need one.  The drums and especially the bass more than make up for it.  There isn’t as much fuzz to bass as I thought there would be—Amy’s playing tends to be thick, loud, and quite vibrant but doesn’t lean on the fuzz card too much.  That isn’t to say there isn’t any—but it isn’t to the point of bands like ELECTRIC WIZARD or countless others.  Amy’s bass lays down a strong foundation as any Doom bassist would want but still effectively takes the place of riffs that would normally be played by guitar.  Her vocals add in a psychedelic atmosphere that gives the music a Stoner vibe. but it isn’t overt.  They don’t hide behind the fuzz and haze but instead use it to form and shape songs with point and meaningful structures

Johanes drums play alongside it all as if they are an extension of his very being.  All at once he compliments the song, backs up the entire structure, and provides solid rhythm. The first track, “The Battle of White Mountain,” explodes with fuzz and marching snare attack.  This track is a real banger of a Doom track with everything a Doom fan would want.  Who needs a guitar?  The bass and drums make the track sound as heavy as lead and the production makes it fill a room the size of a football field. The crashing cymbals and the psychedelic bass of the next track, “The Divine,” combines with the amazing vocal performance reveals this is no ordinary Doom album.  This track has a trace of pop rock sensibilities hanging in the air, waiting just above the psychedelic Doom that treads the ground below it.

The third track, “Ash and Dust,” reveals yet another side of the band with a furious Punk style attack.  Energetic, raw vocals from Amy and a heavy-handed drum style propel the song forward through the trenches. Moods switch yet again in one of the later tracks, “At The Edge,” which finds the band taking more of a slow burn path. Ethereal vocals become one with the instruments that lends the song a spacey atmosphere. The final track, “In Despair,” is a great closer, it caps off the album with a totally different mood than it began—this one is bare bones but expansive and introspective.  The bass transcends its physical origins and spreads out over the landscape as pure emotion.  Amy’s vocals do the same—the whole track is fluid motion that reaches for the stars itself before letting you down to touch terra firma once again. YEAR OF THE COBRA’s “Ash and Dust,” is an extremely surprising and diverse Doom Metal album with so much to offer the listener.  Fans of the more traditional and psychedelic style of the subgenre need to add this to your must have list.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

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
Amy Tung Barrysmith – Bass, Vocals
Johanes Barrysmith - Drums
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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