A while back, our esteemed writer The Huntsman tried to write an entire review of the debut Blackwulf long player without using the word "riff"-- and struggled mightily. It's near impossible as Blackwulf are simply the masters of the riff. Power chords and pummeling riffs fly off Pete Holmes's guitar string with the ease of water pouring off the falls. Simply epic. But in truth, Blackwulf are about so much more than the riff. Listen to how effortlessly Dave Pankenier on drums and Scott Peterson on bass dip into a funky groove or rage into a pulverizing roar. And above it all lay the mesmerizing vocals of Alex Cunningham. His tone dips into smooth waters or explodes into a tsunami of fury effortlessly. "Acid Reign" is a killer single and hints towards the ocean of talent the debut album hinted at. Big things await.
Meanwhile, Black Snake from Oregon do an exemplary job of keeping up their end of the split. Shawn Baravetto is also no stranger to the power of the fuzzed out riff, and his crew of Alex Clemens on Drums and Isiah Mark on bass proceed to drive that headcrushing riff right through my frontal cortex. Add in the extra menace of Shawn's gruff vocals and this one could terrorize small children for years. A killer split and freaking gorgeous on that black and clear vinyl.
In truth, CFA has to be seen to be believed, but damn if this insane Tony Reed produced EP doesn't do one helluva job capturing the manic energy of these beloved stonercore punks. CFA stand in a genre all their own of meth'ed up hardcore punk heart filtered through the mad riff-meistering fuzzed out tone of stoner guitars. Cody, Dave and Reno are not only the court jesters of a stoner scene that tends to take itself a touch too seriously sometimes, but they have the musicianship, chops and out-and-out talent to rock with the best of the them. Each song is a high energy blast of unfettered rock abandon. As Tony Reed says, "they sound like something you might get if Tony Iommi was in the Cro-Mags." And if that isn't high praise from the man Mr Reed himself, then I don't know what is.
The EP comes in three diffferent colors, but each one contains the same stonercore CFA brand of rocking insanity. Not to be missed.
Coming from Ft Worth, The Cosmic Trigger plow a path between NWOBHM inspired harmony guitar riffery and progressive metal with touches of stoner/doom thrown into the mix like seasoning on a heavy stew. Think Praying Mantis in a bar fight with Mos Generator perhaps. But over the course of these two sides, The Cosmic Trigger runs rampant through several styles from straight ahead Lizzy style metal, to grunge, jazzy prog textures and rock. Often times all within the same song, like the almost easy-listening opening of Catharsis before it ends in a cacophony of noise rock. Yes, it can be a little off putting, but it's never boring and musically the band has the chops to take us wherever they want to go. At times, it seems like Tyrel Choat may be exceeding his comfort zone on vocals, but they're always impassioned, and when that twin guitar harmony comes in, it's awesome.
I dug their debut album, which stayed a little closer to the NWOBHM/Progressive tendencies. I'm curious what type of band The Cosmic Trigger will become once they settle on one particular groove.