Black Cobra

If the rusty patina of bulky abandoned industrial-era equipment had a sound, it would be something like the heavily distorted guitars of Black Cobra. The tone is so thoroughly textured you may wonder if your speakers have suddenly developed a distortion problem, but the clear drums and shouty (at times shrill) vocals will reassure you. Lyrically bleak, Chronomega is pregnant with rhythmic reiteration; even the shorter tracks repeat their oxidized riff-centric themes with conviction and patience. It’s arguably better not to know what the genre tags (doom and sludge metal) are supposed to signify about Black Cobra. This, their first album on an established label, is best approached on its own terms: Absorb the plodding crunch of the nigh-epic tracks, dig the sinewy dread of the chord progressions, wince at the thrash-like vocals, discern some heavily cloaked incognito punk riffs. Imagine that your ears could understand the sensation of touching the gnarled bark of a 200-year-old tree. Now hope with me that the band can accomplish this coarseness on stage — it would be a brutally intoxicating live show.