Released: 2014, Austral Holocaust Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Calling all old school metal fans! If you’ve been looking for some 1980’s style dueling guitar badassery, Cobra (by way of Peru) delivers a retro metal dose of classic metal madness on their sophomore record “To Hell”!
“To Hell” is the first opportunity I had to hear Cobra, and after a few listens, I am definitely a fan. When you press play, the power delivered by Cobra’s sound is rooted in the interplay between guitarists Andres Rhor and Nito Mejia, as well as their remarkable vocalist Harry “El Sucio”. El Sucio’s style is reminiscent of John Arch (Fates Warning), Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper), and Eric 'AK' Knutson (Flotsam and Jetsam). He hits and holds some scorchen highs!
The vocals are predominant in the mix and there are times when El Sucio, waivers a bit, but his screams and powerful delivery quickly spur the songs back to their intended head banging fury. With the guitars being the focal point of many of the songs, the impression is that the singer struggled at times to find when to add vocal parts, which leaves some of the songs feeling disjointed. BUT, those dueling guitars are a thing of power metal beauty and proficiency. I hear some solid salutes to Judas Priest, as well as influences such as Armored Saint, Fates Warning, Tesla (Mechanical Resonance era), and some of the NWOBH bands such as Angel Witch.
The whole album is fueled by technically proficient lead runs, with solid rhythm accompaniments. Pochuck’s drumming keeps the Cobra fire stoked, with loads of surprising fills and even some Latin flavored styling’s, he is a true talent and should be recognized as such. Augusto (bass) is the bottom end translator. Due to the proficiency of all of the band members, the band has the potential to lose it and run amuck, but it’s Augusto that ropes everyone back into a cohesive unit.
The production/mixing is lacking as the instruments sound distinctively separate at times, rather than gelling together as a cohesive unit. Another critique is that it would have been helpful to have introduced a greater variety of vocal effects. There were a number of songs when I caught myself getting lost in the riffage, and then getting ready for some more shout along choruses, when the songs just ended abruptly. Since Cobra is flying the 1980’s retro metal flag, they would benefit from tightening up the structure of some of their songs. They nailed it on the fiery title track, “To Hell”. Here the band has written a cohesive song with all of the classic metal greatness: unstoppable riffing, high intensity drumming, driving bass, and ear splitting screams. This is where the band really shines.
Every song on this record is a horns up and fist pumper, as Cobra pulls from the purest of metal’s forefathers. I imagine that Cobra’s live show would melt your face off! Cobra has a great deal of talent and potential if they can temper their all-star one-up-manship, and focus more energy on song structures. If they can accomplish that, then they could have the potential to cross multiple metal genres and establish themselves as a big draw international metal band.
“To Hell” is a very strong effort that cuts to the core of what metal is, and as a result, it is deserving of your attention. Don’t let this album pass you by!
Review by Buck Dingo