Cobalt - Gin review
|Release date:||March 2009|
02. Dry Body
06. A Clean, Well Lighted Place
07. Pregnant Insect
08. Two Thumbed Fist
09. The Old Man Who Lied For His Entire Life
10. A Starved Horror
Every couple years Phil McSorley (vocals, guitars) and Erik Wunder (guitars, drums, everything else) under the moniker Cobalt pull a "Darkthrone" - that is basically cross the country, meet up and crush out an album together. 2009 saw the duo collaborate and unload the massive Gin on us all.
Musically, the album ebbs and flows a bit like waves pounding on a shore… the tracks seem to come and go alternately, with some crashing down like a swell against the rocks in a violent display of force, and others receding peacefully and calmly away with a lull that conceals the riptide underneath.
Songs like "Gin" and "Stomach" showcase the developing power of the incoming wave - building force and tension like the wave on the horizon that continues to build size and momentum as it races towards shore. "Arsonry" (the most straightforward track on Gin) and "Pregnant Insect" increase tempo and the violence, like the storm waves hitting the breakers. These tracks feature some tom abuse out of the kit (particularly "Pregant Insect" at times), crushing guitar riffs, sometimes featuring "sliding" powerchords adding to the wavy feel, as well as the ripped-throat screeching vocals of McSorley which black metal fans would appreciate.
On the other side of the spectrum, "Dry Body" is a slow and slowly developing song that lulls the listener in with a droning, clean guitar sound, haunting clean vocals, and a simple, subtle tribal-sounding drums that are almost off in the distance they are so quiet… the track does continue to build, guitars adding distortion, the drums growing louder, and both picking up in intensity as it progresses along, but despite a couple "swells", it maintains an atmosphere that is serene yet still foreboding.
"Throat" and "The Man Who Lied His Entire Life" are both comparatively mellow instrumental pieces that last around two minutes each and allow a slight cessation in the atmosphere that is carried over from the darker, and more violent tracks on the record.
With the exception of those two, the remaining tracks all clock in at around six minutes plus, and whether faster or slower overall, they all build and release a bit - "Arsonry" rages like a forest fire, but still finds a few quieter moments, "Dry Body" is almost hypnotic at times, but still has some outbreaks of speed.
Thematically the album, per McSorley, is a paean to the Nietzsche's Overman (see also: Übermensch) as well as the writing of Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson. Aggressive male behavior and excess are exhibited lyrically throughout the release. Most of the lyrics were written by McSorley, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, while he served in Korea.
Half of the song titles may very well have come straight off a bottle of gin ("Gin", "Dry Body", "Throat", "Stomach"), a key component of one of Hemingway's favorite drinks, the Montgomery Martini.
More tips of the cap appear to Hemingway throughout the album… the cover picture itself is Hemingway. Including the blank filler bits before the 'secret' song to close the release, the album totals 61 tracks - Hemingway's age upon his death, as well as the year of his death. (1899-1961)
The track "A Clean, Well Lighted Place" is the name of Hemingway short story, which is conveniently linked for your enjoyment. While most of the words within are inaudible, the last line of the song is the last line of the short story of the same name.
Undoubtedly there is a pointer or two I missed within as well that the more intrepid of you might uncover.
Ultimately Gin is an intense piece of work that retains an oppressive feel and covers some varying stylistic ground, making it difficult to label in any one genre. It is an ambitious album and a rewarding listen. Highly recommended.
||Written on 05.02.2010 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.|
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| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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