Release Date: Mar 25, 2016
Record label: Profound Lore
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
The first new set of music from the Erik Wunder-led extreme metal group in nearly seven years, Slow Forever arrives after a long period of upheaval and transition for Cobalt that ended with the forced departure of controversy-inciting vocalist Phil McSorley. Released in 2009, Gin found its way onto nearly everybody's year-end metal lists, and rightly so, but fans looking for another blast furnace-forged set of grindcore-infused American black metal will need to recalibrate their earholes, as Slow Forever is a much different -- though no less toast-worthy -- beast. An unwieldy mix of post-hardcore, post-grunge, hard rock, punk, prog, folk, and yes, black metal, the mammoth two-disc set exists in its own dark universe, red with rage and spinning out of control in every direction.
When do you last remember a respected band replacing a lead singer and actually getting better? This is the central anomaly of the brilliant and brave Slow Forever, the first album in seven years from the reborn metal duo Cobalt. For a decade, Cobalt made mad, warped dashes through black metal, summoning the spirit and language of hero Ernest Hemingway alongside the imagery and intensity of singer Phil McSorley’s stints in the U.S. Army.
Review Summary: A grimy homage to all things metal, devolved to its most primal and animalisticGood on Eric Wunder for parting ways with that juvenile ***lord vocalist, Phil McSorely. On top of his childish and embarrassing interviews, the guy was kind of garbage. Slinging misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric isn't okay in metal in 2016 (nor was it ever) so it's refreshing to see it dealt with so effectively and to such praise.
After enduring a very public falling out with former vocalist Phil McSorley, Cobalt mastermind Erik Wunder has reappeared with a double album that might be the Colorado-based metal outfit’s most crucial and devastating record yet. As usual, all instruments are handled by Wunder, who then enlisted former Lord Mantis frontman Charlie Fell to lend his fearsome throat to the proceedings. The results run the gamut from vicious hardcore-tinged cuts (“Ruiner”) and slash ‘n’ burn metal epics (“Beast Whip,” “Elephant Graveyard”) to acoustic interludes (“Breath”) and bass-driven rippers (“Final Will”).
Cobalt revolutionized American black metal with 2009’s Gin, as one of the few bands to firmly embrace their home country instead of seeking authenticity by aping their European forbearers. Its successor, Slow Forever, amazingly dominates over Gin, a continuation of Cobalt’s renegade Americanization of extreme metal, with principal instrumentalist and songwriter Erik Wunder further embracing popular American ’90s rock — when grunge and metal bled together — and folk. The album’s gestation over the past couple of years was agonizing, as the band’s former vocalist Phil McSorley’s demeanor grew as intense as his singing, causing him to be exited for, frankly, being a bigot and too much of a liability.