“Imperium Simulacra”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The two-man demolition squad Black Cobra continues their path of destruction with “Imperium Simulacra”. Not much has changed since their last album …they still deliver that pumped up and energetic version of sludge metal that typifies their past work. They are in a well worn groove now…and that works against them a bit this time around.

The nine tunes here are models of consistency and follow the same template to the point where it becomes a little difficult to tell the songs apart. Most have that faster galloping feel like speeded up Sabbath or the pacier High On Fire with plenty of groove and grime. At some points they almost have a perversely funky touch to some of the riffing. The production this time is very dry and not as crushing as what they came up with on the classic “Invernal” album, which I still reckon as their best and heaviest. 

Black Cobra is neither fish nor fowl. They aren’t a standard doom or sludge band, but can’t be called thrash or death either. They’re just real damn heavy. I just wish there was more variation in their approach here. One song that stands out is “Fathoms Below”, with its slower and doomier approach and focus on cool Geezer Butler like guitar tones. “Dark Shine” is also a bit off the beaten path, with a little more melody and gloominess. Elsewhere, the songs are all enjoyable, except for the nagging voice in the back of your head that says they are all pretty much the same tune except for small tweaks.

“Imperium Simulacra” is a good headbangable album, but I wonder if Black Cobra’s creative spark is starting to sputter a bit.