EP review: Burn Your Dead – Year of the Cobra

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Few things in life are as certain as death, taxes and perhaps the knowledge that Year of the Cobra‘s sound is enough to make your bowels loosen. This two-piece from Seattle consisting of bassist/vocalist Amy Tung and drummer, John Barrysmith, has created 5 tracks of rumbling, groove-laden, doom-infused rock featuring only bass, drums, vocals and keys! My initial concerns about the lack of instruments proved to be unfounded. I was worried that the sound might be a little two-dimensional, due to the lack of rhythm and lead guitar. I needn’t have worried. Year of the Cobra (great name, by the way!), has the talent to keep me engaged through each of the 5 songs on Bury Your Dead and the variety of the tracks here is most welcome. Read on and rock on.

Opening with the six-minute plus, Cold, straight away you notice the bass sound is huge, so huge in fact you forget all about the lack of other guitars. Barrysmith’s drumming is tight, heavy and rhythmic and hits like a ton of bricks when necessary. Cold has a slow, brooding Melvins groove to it. The track drags you down into a well of doomy despair and I love it! It is an atmospheric track that paints a pretty grim picture. The interlude allows a moment of respite before the bass buries you in a cold, dark casket once again. Very solid start.

Track 2, The Descent, builds on the first tracks solid foundation with a bass line rough enough to shake any fillings from your mouth. This song has a simpler song structure to it and the vocals work a treat. The keys on this track add another element to the music. They only make a brief appearance but a welcome one. Title track, Burn Your Dead, is perhaps the record’s dirtiest track, and the fastest. It has a punk rock vibe shows the band has another gear they can change into when required. The Howl is the longest track on offer. Clocking in at over six and a half minutes, it has a MASSIVE opening riff before the track settles down into a more familiar buzzing bass line. Final track, And They Sang.., is another uptempo tune and one I really dig. It is the sort of track that makes you want to drive fast…real fast, without giving a single f**k. Peddle to the metal as the feedback make your ears and eyes bleed.

I dig what Year of the Cobra have got going on here. This record mixes up the tempo with its songs and there is some nice, reflective passages on a couple of the tracks. The vocals are cool and the production has a live feel to it, which I dig too. I’d like to hear the keys a little more as I feel as if this can elevate the duo to another level musically. Recommended, especially if you dig bands like Melvins, QOTSA (the older shit), Kyuss etc.

Thanks to Magnetic Eye Records for a digital copy of this. \m/

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Year of the Cobra (Amy Tung and Jon Barrysmith) are moving forward. Unmitigated, unhindered, unrestrained. The Seattle bass and drum two-piece boldly tackle new styles and new substance on new EP, Burn Your Dead.

Produced like their 2016 STB Records debut full-length, …In the Shadows Below, by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, the Melvins, etc.) at The Type Foundry in Portland, Oregon, Burn Your Dead still offers plenty of tonal largesse to go with its striking Joshua M. Wilkinson cover art.

But its five tracks also showcase new avenues of exploration for Year of the Cobra, whether it’s the ambience and creepy sampling worked into opener “Cold,” the progressive atmospheric rock of “The Howl” and centerpiece “The Descent,” reaching new heights of melodic accomplishment in Tung’s vocals, or the uptempo punker thrust of the gang-shouting title-track and the finale “And They Sang.”

That final track not only conveys the rawness of Year of the Cobra’s live show but – bolstered by the mastering work of Justin Weis at Trakworx in San Francisco – also the growth they’ve been able to enact through such relentless road work since their 2015 debut EP, The Black Sun, which has seen them quickly become coast-to-coast veterans, hit Europe for the first time and appear at Psycho Las Vegas and other festivals around the country, never-failing to leave a trail of blown minds in their wake.

Look for Year of the Cobra to continue their refinement in live performances as they keep their momentum toward the future with Burn Your Dead. More tours, more fests, more trips abroad – and most of all – more evolution, because as YOTC put …In the Shadows Below behind them, they answer that album’s massive, rolling groove with a boldness of stylistic expanse that on Burn Your Dead serves as a funereal procession for the expectations of anyone who thought they knew what they were getting from the band. Pure, multifaceted fire.

Band:

  • Amy Tung: Bass / Vocals / Keys
  • Jon Barrysmith: Drums

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On Tour:

Thu Sep 28 – Bozeman MT – The Filling Station
Fri Sep 29 – Black Hills Vinyl – Rapid City SD
Sat Sep 30 – Stoned Meadow of Doom – Sioux Falls SD
Sun Oct 1 – Kansas City – TBA
Mon Oct 2 – Highland’s Taproom Metal Monday – Louisville KY
Tue Oct 3 –  Frequency – Madison WI
Wed Oct 4 – Reggie’s Music Joint – Chicago IL
Thu Oct 5 – Green Bay WI – TBA
Friday Oct 6 – Doomed and Stoned – Indianapolis IN
Saturday Oct 7 – Doomed and Stoned – Indianapolis IN
Sunday Oct 8 – Des Moines IA – TBA
Monday Oct 9 – Denver CO – TBA
Tuesday Oct 10 – Salt Lake City UT – Beehive Social Club
Wednesday Oct 11- Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco CA
Thursday Oct 12 – Bunk Bar – Portland, OR
Friday Oct 13 – Manette Saloon – Bremerton WA
Saturday Oct 14 – Eugene OR – The Black Forest

Pre-orders:
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/album/burn-your-dead

 

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