Cobalt preach from the beginning to the end of their American style black metal disc to make gripping statements on misanthropy. They preach for the demise of humanity through the progressive “de-evolution” of people to animals, so that they join and operate in the non-beholden world of mammals. Vocalist/lyricist Phil McSorely seems to have attached his lyrics to the basic tenets of Samuel Johnson’s famous quote, “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man,” a line that Hunter S. Thompson uses effectively to preamble his opus Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It’s fitting that Cobalt include some reference or gesture to literary figures in their album, and to interesting effect: to create their own statement on the potential ugliness of the human psyche as they provide a recipe for subversion, which basically includes the discarding of humanity completely.
The opening song “Gin,” prefaced by a mellow, almost acoustic guitar strumming opening, is an ode referencing Hemingway in a somewhat oblique way (the speaker turns to Papa’s preferred drink, Gin, to escape as he screams his name), and circles around the speakers desire to secede from society into the respite of (1) animal skins (those of a mammoth), then (2) his mother’s womb–the latter of which I find provocatively interesting. Phil McSorely laments that “the strong inherit the earth,” preceded by “Your brother betrays you / your friend kills you. / your woman is dead.” I think these lines are right on, and the just-over seven minute song is finished off nicely by an outro that explodes with McSorely’s un-censored rage.
McSorely probably provides his best vocal delivery on Arsonry, a song that begins with his rhythmic scream-chanting, overlayed by Wunder’s simple yet abrasive chugging riffs (he takes care of everything besides the words and vocals). McSorely, though, delivers a strained barrage of words at times, then follows just as quickly with the growls and groans that sound like the subjects within the songs he pens.
However, my favorite cut on the LP is “Stomach,” a song that opens with little musical fanfare, and begins with the screamed words “I prefer sex when it’s an animal act / oh yeah.” Who could refrain from being curious about a song with such a gripping exordium as that? The song subsequently explodes with a drum assault accompanied by staccato guitar riffs. What I really appreciate about the song is what occurs at the three minute mark, a moment when Wunder stages back the guitars and orchestrates a slow building climax that peaks at about the five minute mark into a chaos of guitar saturation that takes up the rest of the song.