Black Cobra @ Webster Hall Studio

NEW YORK, NY— The name Black Cobra might seem pedestrian as far as metal band names go, but after experiencing this severe two-piece in the live setting, there is no name that would suite them better. Their high-energy style of doom metal is accomplished through colossal and uncompromising battery from drummer, Rafael Martinez (who, to my surprise does not use a double-bass pedal), Jason Landrian’s apocalyptic guitar riffing and venomous screams, and (I’m purely speculating here) a general disdain for mankind and love for all things bleak and grim.

At a typical show, three-quarters of the way through the set of the headlining act, I’m ready to leave. I’m one of those people who likes to show up early, even if I’m unfamiliar with an opener, hoping to discover some incredible new sound. It’s a good policy for any music fan, but unfortunately, by the time the headliner takes the stage, I’m sweaty, my buzz is wearing off, my neck is sore, and, if the show is in the city, I’m worried about catching my train back to the Garden State.

The Webster Hall Studio on June 30 was a different story. The basement barroom in Manhattan turned into a headbanger’s paradise. Where the riffs flowed like wine and the alcohol flowed…well, surprisingly cheap for a New York bar, let alone one where there was live music (we’re talking 5$ beers and shots of whiskey, not bad at all).

Regrettably, I arrived just at the end of East of the Wall’s set. They are an outstanding, New Jersey-based progressive/experimental band, and, from all accounts, played a terrific set.

Struck By Lightning was the second opener. Their sludgy brand of detuned hardcore worked the crowd up substantially. Their set was augmented by guitarist/vocalist, Gregory Lahm’s impassioned performance and flawless handlebar mustache.

Howl, took the stage after Struck By Lightning. I had an interesting perspective on their set because I had seen the band open for EYEHATEGOD a month earlier. Howl was great at that show, but this time their sound was considerably better and guitarist/vocalist, Vincent Hausman’s voice came through the PA system clearly. Their heavy riffs, combined with Hausman’s infectious grinning throughout their set, kept myself, and the rest of the crowd, involved in the show and excited for the finale from the mighty Black Cobra.

The first time I saw Black Cobra, they played a short set as an opener for The Sword. This was in 2007 or 2008 and I admit to being worried that the band might not live up to my memory of that show, it had been a while after all.

They kindly blasted my concerns, and my mind, into outer space. By the time they returned for their encore (they waited all of 15 seconds before returning to the stage) I was ready for them to play another full set. It was not to be however, they finished and Landrian graciously thanked the crowd for the support.

I lingered for a few minutes, before collecting my body from the puddle of melted flesh it had just been reduced to. I personally thanked Landrian as he was packing up his gear and was back in Jersey before 1 a.m. For me, these guys can’t come back to the area soon enough.