Year Of The Cobra can be considered relative newcomers given they only started life in 2015. “Ash And Dust” is their sophomore long play release and continues to build on their brand of stoner doom delivered as a two piece comprised of Amy Tung on bass and vocals with Jon Barrysmith on drum duty.

The fat introduction of “The Battle Of White Mountain” smashes into a super heavy, bluesy riff. Smooth vocals over a smoky, simmering bass create a grinding, swirling vortex of doom sound that bears a resemblance to early Alunah. The opening tracks display a variety of tangents and show off the band’s ability to push in several directions. The pop-rock sensibility of “The Divine” has a stomping beat with plenty White Stripes tinged hooks. With loads of distortion on the bass and a metronomic thump, there’s plenty to keep the neck muscles warmed.

Urgent groover “Ash And Dust” with its hardcore punk vibe adds splashes of colour before the doomier territory of “Demons”. There’s an off-kilter, brooding sensation and an air of menace as a shade of Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard’s sound creeps in, especially on the ethereal vocals to “Into The Fray”. The band do keep that sense of primitivism however that gives these tracks a nice consistency. The bass is worked mercilessly and twisted throughout and shows moments that pleasantly bring Cliff Burton to mind.

“Ash And Dust” has a solid, contemporary feel. I wondered how a band that consisted of only bass and drums would manage to keep sounding fresh but Year Of The Cobra have managed that on this release. I guess the interest will be to hear where they continue to take their sound. In the meantime, if you’re into thick, fuzzy riffs then this will be up your alley.

(7/10 Johnny Zed)