Cobra The Impaler defy genres with stunning second album

Described as Progressive Metalcore, I was surprised that I enjoyed Belgians Cobra The Impaler when covering them for this publication at Bloodstock Festival 2023. Metalcore isn’t a genre that I would normally go to. However, over the 50-odd minutes which are presented here, there is plenty to explore, absorb, and appreciate. 

Cobra The Impaler – Karma Collision (Listenable Records)

Release Date: 31 May 2024

Words: Paul Hutchings

Opener Magnetic Hex is a great example of why you should never rely on the genre as a guide. It’s a fast, Thrashy and impressively heavy song, with intricate patterns, excellent playing, and underneath it all, a huge Mastodon feel. Mixed vocals rarely do it for me, but here they really work. 

Cobra The Impaler – Karma Collision - This is music that will be incredible in the live setting. 
Cobra The Impaler – Karma Collision – This is music that will be incredible in the live setting. 

I’ve seen Cobra The Impaler described as early Mastodon, which I think is impossible to ignore. Their approach is like the Atlanta legends, with powerful drums, driving dual guitars, and harmony in the vocals, all combined with a quality that is rarely heard.

Over the ten songs here, Cobra The Impaler weave their magic in a way that draws you in. Carefully crafted songs, perfectly executed in delivery, it’s all a bit good. 

Godless Beyonder, which follows Magnetic Hex, is followed by the drama of Season Of The Savage, which has numerous sweeping parts and really allows the vocal prowess of singers Manuel Eiremmer and Michélé De Feudis to come to the fore. Ace Zec’s drumming is stellar throughout, controlled yet with the flair that ensures it’s interesting, too. 

They use melodies throughout. It gives the band an expansive edge without detracting from the underlying heaviness that they possess. 

Listen to the title track as a clear example. It’s sweet, melodic, with a great chorus, yet it still has a real cutting edge. There’s a real flow to the band’s style, with sweeping movements on My Inferno, which combined with some ferocious vocals and furious riffing, make it one of the real highlights of the album. 

It’s at this point, over halfway through, that I’m wondering if the label Progressive Metalcore is even the correct one to use. For me, this is simply a phenomenally good record, full of the sort of clever heavy music that works the grey matter. 

Immerse yourself in the blisteringly explosive The Message, with Zec’s battering drumming underpinning a delicious rolling melody, and I guarantee you will be impressed. 

That the band have the confidence to close with their two longest songs says it all. 

The sprawl of Assassins Of The Vision gives more kudos to their progressive style, yet it’s still a brutally hard and heavy-edged track that will get those who see them nodding heads fiercely. 

With Shifting Sands concluding the album in epic style, it’s fair to say that those 40 minutes at Bloodstock are now viewed with even more pleasure. 

Now to keep an eye out for the UK dates, for this is music that will be incredible in the live setting. 

Sleeve Notes

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