Cobalt
Slow Forever


4.0
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
March 23rd, 2016 | 283 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A grimy homage to all things metal, devolved to its most primal and animalistic

Good on Eric Wunder for parting ways with that juvenile ***lord vocalist, Phil McSorely. On top of his childish and embarrassing interviews, the guy was kind of garbage. Slinging misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric isn't okay in metal in 2016 (nor was it ever) so it's refreshing to see it dealt with so effectively and to such praise. Despite the themes and acerbic hatred spewing forth from the lyrics, Phil McSorely was never the true creative ingenue (even though he was technically the band's founder.) No, Cobalt was always Wunder's baby, really. Now, seven years later that baby has outgrown Wunder considerably, forcing him to change the band into something all together different.

Slow Forever is in essence a stark change in direction for the band. Once US black metal heroes, Cobalt have definitively shed almost all ties to the genre. To find black metal connections would be an exercise, requiring listeners to search for undertones that were once at the forefront. 2009's Gin gave hints as to where Wunder was going, but it was so subtle that no one saw what was to come.

The band's new direction is felt immediately. The first guitar licks at the beginning of "Hunt the Buffalo" buffet the listener with a dusty, outlaw country tone. Its bluesy feel hits hard right away, putting at the forefront something that was always felt but never seen. What's so fascinating is that Cobalt never really follow through with this sound, instead relying on little flourishes here and there. Instead, much of Slow Forever delves into a sort of hardcore or "punk" territory. Then it derails into sludge metal territory. Along the way it passes through metalcore and doom as well. At its most incendiary and rapid fire moments, it's hard not to recall bands like Refused or even Trap Them. At its murkiest, Eyehategod rears its head. Yeah, yeah this is a bit of a stretch for sure, but this time around the band is more immediate and excessive than ever, all without dipping into their storied black metal history.

The black metal that the band became known for was a vehicle for Phil McSorely oppressive anger and fiery hatred. Sure he was a total weirdo about it, but the serrated edges of their sound really did imply a fierce and jagged underbelly. Even without such harsh sounds, Cobalt manage a palpable anger and intensity. Featuring Fell of Lord Mantis fame,Slow Forever is down right bestial in its display of rage. It's an animal-like and primal record that feels more real and more genuine than McSorely war crap ever did.

The aforementioned change in vocalists is probably going to be an underrated facet of Slow Forever's success. Charlie Fell of Lord Mantis fame is a savage vocalist with a bellowing voice that gives way to ear splitting shrieks. His work on this album brings it to another level completely. McSorely was a pretty amazing vocalist for Cobalt, with a pitch-perfect black metal voice that had a dark and menacing power behind it. Fell, however, is much more lively and dynamic. He shifts readily between anthem like shouts and shrill raptor screams. His contributions to the album is immense and he deserves the highest praise possible.

Slow Forever will no doubt draw much ire for its runtime. Its a double album (barely, really) that runs about 85-minutes. Featuring songs that average about seven or eight minutes, the record is certainly hefty. What's so surprising is how trimmed it sounds. One might expect an hour and a half of meaty extreme metal to feel bloated, but in all actuality it feels practically svelte. That isn't to say that some things could have been cut out. Sure there are moments of awkwardly long outro segments or yawn inducing intros, but those are few and far between. As a whole, Slow Forever is perfectly composed and assembled, breezing by as if it were half its length.

It's difficult to really assemble a cohesive thought pattern about the record. Cobalt have made a masterwork of modern metal that defines classification. It's just heavy, multifaceted music that dips its fingers into every part of the spectrum. Yet the band avoids cosmic wankery. Never does Slow Forever feel like some sort of disjointed genre bending mess. Rather, its metal at its most primordial. Slow Forever is Cobalt reborn. From War Metal through 2009 the band was metal behemoth, given form by a black metal skeleton. Although they have never adhered to any sub-genre orthodoxy, black metal always seemed to be the nexus of their sound, firmly rooting them to reality. With their newest release, Eric Wunder as loosened the tether and slipped into the savage void. The band is all the better for it.



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user ratings (255)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
hesperus CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Comfortably Cobalt....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I reserve the right to raise my rating. I hated this a week ago but damn I am falling hard.

Digging: Godflesh - Post Self

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's everything heavy music should be

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


8453 Comments


looks super interesting, bookmarking

Digging: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

Inveigh
March 22nd 2016


26291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pretty sure i'm going to be listening to this all damn year

Digging: Desolate Shrine - Deliverance From The Godless Void

Hawks
March 22nd 2016


51961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still haven't had enough time to sit down and jam this.

Digging: Swallow the Sun - The Morning Never Came

jtswope
March 22nd 2016


5656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Checking this asap for sure.

hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


938 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Weird how our reviews have pretty starkly different interpretations of how the album sounds, especially in relation to Gin. I certainly can't disagree with anything you've written, though. Really great review.



Minor editorial nitpick: I'm pretty sure you meant "defies" near the beginning of the last paragraph, instead of "defines".

Asdfp277
March 22nd 2016


15809 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a curveball album if i've seen one

Inveigh
March 22nd 2016


26291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is pretty different than most of their previous material, not much black metal to be found here.



there's a lot of Today is the Day, early Mastodon, shit even Lord Mantis kinds of sounds here, in addition to all the bm-tinged hardcore shit. to my ears, obviously

kris.
March 22nd 2016


14637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

got through disc 1 a bit ago and it slays. lord mantis dude fits in so well

AffableMartyr
March 22nd 2016


403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The instrumentals are God like, Vocals are fucking raw, and this thing was produced perfect!

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


30790 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lets see if this gets it some bnm

Inveigh
March 22nd 2016


26291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

could be wrong, but i foresee a massive hype train for this one in the very near future

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2016


30790 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

id b cool with that

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2016


30790 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh shit if i delete 3 of my own comments i have a palindrome

brainmelter
March 23rd 2016


4574 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

will C Z E C H

Digging: Options - Driftwood Metaphor

Inveigh
March 23rd 2016


26291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh shit if i delete 3 of my own comments i have a palindrome




if i know academy, you need to do this and screen cap it

Asdfp277
March 23rd 2016


15809 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

he did

BeneaththeDarkOcean
March 23rd 2016


687 Comments


That part about 7:40 into King Rust is so fucking Tool-ish it's ridiculously awesome. I've never even listened to this band before, but dammit if I'm not a fan now. Nice review Eli.

slikphuk
March 23rd 2016


394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

charlie fell's voice is filthy af, this is so reminiscent of death mask.

m/

Digging: Fuoco Fatuo - Backwater



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