Year of the Cobra, the doomy Seattle-based duo of bassist/vocalist Amy Tung-Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith, formed in 2015 and soon came barreling out of the gate with an impressive three-song EP, The Black Sun. The band's full-length debut, the Billy Anderson-produced crusher, …In the Shadows, was released the following year to considerable buzz, and showcased the band's penchant for contrasting raw, molten bass and mountainous drums with silky vocal stylings and a considerable amount of fuzz. All the while, the band maintained a hefty road schedule that helped it refine its vision and sharpen its sense of adventure.
Co-produced by Year of the Cobra and Billy Anderson (who also engineered and mixed the EP), the duo's new EP Burn Your Dead only contains five songs, but that doesn't stop it from dipping into many facets of its musical palate. The band's core still lies in a hybrid of doom, desert rock, and punk, but here it steps up its game with new twists and experimentation. Tung-Barrysmith claims it's "the best stuff we've written so far," and though their previous releases are hella solid, a listen to the new material shows her words aren't purely hyperbolic.
Burn Your Dead seems to cement itself with the slow-burning opener, "Cold," but soon it's evident that Year of the Cobra never stays in one mode for long. Gloomy pop-leaning epic, "The Descent," layers Tung-Barrysmith's slinky, foreboding vocals and ghostly background harmonies over mood-shifting time signatures and pulse-raising musical builds (plus, a carefully placed piano solo). The biggest surprise may be the title track: Though its thundering grooves nod to the duo's self-aware Kyuss-worship, rather than bask in a Sky Valley-style haze, it pairs them with fire-breathing gang-vocals that wouldn't sound out of place from a house band in a long-forgotten outlaw biker flick. From there, the journey continues, and as it scales through guttural riffs, industrial-strength beats, and mysterious lyrics, things only gets more compelling along the way.
Burn Your Dead is out tomorrow on Magnetic Eye Records, but you can sink your ears in now in Noisey's exclusive premiere.
Jamie Ludwig is howling on Twitter.