(Album Review) NIGHT COBRA - Dawn of the Serpent
Release date: February 12, 2022
Written by Jeff Tighe
Dawn of the Serpent is the second release by Houston-based Night Cobra. This 9-track, 34-minute effort is made up of old school traditional heavy metal with speed metal influences. The songs are generally catchy enough to be memorable, and the guitar riffs of Brandon Barger and Bill Fool, in particular, are well done.
However, what truly sticks out is the odd vocal styling of Christian Larson. He generally uses an extremely flat tone that is quite jarring. There are occasional high pitch wails that are reminiscent of King Diamond, but he always returns to a slightly out of tune drone. As a fan who dislikes the clean power metal-style singers who think they could sing opera, this reviewer prefers vocalists who are rough around the edges. But even giving Larson the benefit of repeated listens, his singing remains an acquired taste at best.
Still, there are some gems on this album that act as an anchor while the listener gets used to the vocals. In particular "Lost in Time", "The Serpent's Kiss", and "For Those Who Walk the Night" standout not only for the instrumental delivery, but the lyrical and memorable vocal delivery. Perhaps the best track is the speed metal ditty "In Mortal Danger", a song that takes the listener back to the late 1980s when trad metal bands were learning lessons in excess from their thrash cousins.
The production is somewhat muddy, with Trevi Biles bass and Cheech's drums being somewhat lost in the mix. However, the boys manage to overcome the shortcomings with an effort that has lots of energy and never seems to run out of steam. There is a short, two minute throwaway synth track, but otherwise what this album has going for it is that the band knows how to put together a bunch of songs that never get boring.
Take a listen to pretty much any track, they are all good. If you find Larson's vocals are to your taste, then this album won't disappoint. (7.5)