In its infancy, the pummeling Sludge Metal of Black Cobra wasn’t generated by a full-time “band.” Instead, it was produced by two musicians working remotely from separate coasts. Native Floridians Jason Landrian and Raffa Martinez had long been friends and decided that they wanted to pool their ideas together to create a new project using a little ingenuity.
“A lot of it was snail-mailing CDs back and forth,” says Cobra guitarist/vocalist Landrian of the project's early incarnation. “(Drummer) Raffa’s a guitar player as well, so he would write riffs and send them to me, I’d write riffs and send them to him. I would sometimes (use) a drum machine to give an idea of something (and) he’d record drums with (his). At the beginning of the week, one of us would send a package to the other with a CD in it.”
The pair would set aside a time slot in the week and dissect the material over the phone, discussing what had potential and what didn’t. “It was a slow process, but we didn’t have a deadline so there was no pressure,” Landrian says. “I ended up going to L.A. to hang out and write and that’s when we ended up doing our EP.”
That was a few years ago. They’re now based out of California and remain a duo, still delivering a roaring, speaker-rupturing style. Choronomega, Black Cobra’s September full-length from Southern Lord, represents a point of growth for the band as an increased focus on their existentialism-tinged lyrics and engaging album art (by poster artist Alan Forbes) allow them to flesh their material out into something with tangible personality. However, Landrian and Martinez appear to have no plans of expanding past the current ranks.
“We approach the writing as we would (with) a full band,” Landrian says. “It keeps it interesting for us, too, to figure out how we’re going to do certain things and get around certain obstacles.”
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