Review: Cobalt- Slow Forever

It’s been seven years since the release of seminal American extreme metal two-piece Cobalt‘s last album, and that time off certainly hasn’t been without turmoil for remaining member Erik Wunder, who had to give the boot to his vocalist Phil McSorley, or current vocalist Charlie Fell (who was axed from his own band Lord Mantis). If one fishes, they can certainly find all the tabloid information they want. But for this writer, the most intriguing question becomes, how will the music stand up in spite of the drama and enormous expectations? In what can only be described as an invitation to put your cowboy hat on and draw your pistol, Slow Forever’s first track “Hunt the Buffalo” begins with a riff taken straight out of your typical Wild West ye olde saloon. Although incorporating folk sounds is nothing new to Cobalt, it seems clear all-instrumentalist Erik Wunder has allowed extra influence from his dark folk/rock side-project Man’s Gin to seep into this track and others on this nearly hour and a half behemoth. 

Despite typically receiving the black metal label, Cobalt has never been a one trick pony stylistically. That is especially true on Slow Forever, which sees the band expand out more than on any previous record. Second track “Ruiner” showcases the band’s ability to blend genres without much in the way of effort. Within a two-and-a-half-minute span you’re taken from a pummeling, angry, driving thrash riff back to the aforementioned western-folk ambience and into a section that could have been cut right out of a track from the last two Alice in Chains records. A slow, crawling Tool-esque riff permeates throughout the beginning of the title track, eventually giving way to something closer to black metal as new vox man Fell unleashes his frenetic screams.  

Those expecting to hear the same Charlie Fell they had become accustomed to from his previous projects shouldn’t hold their breath. His delivery is quite a shift from his Lord Mantis days, namely in that it doesn’t possess the overt, disconcerting grossness you hear on records like Pervertor or Deathmask. He brings a bit more nuance and variety to the fold, often altering between manic yells reminiscent of hardcore to more traditional black metal screeching. The change comes as a bit of a surprise considering Fell’s past coupled with previous singer Phil McSorley’s lack of vocal variety. 

I’ll admit, through the first three to four spins of this record, I wasn’t quite “getting it.” The music didn’t capture me like on Gin;the manic parts weren’t as obscenely ferocious or visceral as on Eater of Birds. And the running time is nearly an hour and a half. But because this is Cobalt, a band which has been so seminal to my music listening experience, I wanted to give Slow Forever the opportunity to finally click. It did. I won’t go so far as to say this record is their best album, as many other blog writers have claimed, because it still needs time to shape itself within the framework of my oddly obsessive Cobalt-complex.  Slow Forever probably won’t hit you as hard as previous releases, but perhaps for someone just joining the hype train in 2016, this is the perfect introduction to the band’s still unquestionably unique approach to heavy music, which can be further expounded upon by delving deeper into their discography. And for any Slow Forever naysayers, be patient. It might click for you too.

3.5 Flaming Toilets Ov Hell


You can listen to Slow Forever here and check out their Facebook stuffs here.

Written by:

Published on: March 29, 2016

Filled Under: Reviews

Views: 1121

Tags: , , ,


    Haven’t listened to this till now. The squeaky clean production seems to be an odd fit with the vox. Aside from that, not shabby

  • killer review Jom! glad to have you in the author pool.
    Slow Forever isn’t a masterpiece, but i find myself spinning it pretty frequently, so it’s a jammer for sure

    • Jom Pootersan

      Still wish they trimmed down some of the music. They are some riffs/sections I really enjoy, but some parts meander and feel ‘meh,’ even though I like it overall.

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    Totally disagree about Charlie not sounding on this like he sounded with Lord Mantis. He may not be totally unhinged like in the LM releases, but that same intense, borderline losing grip on reality style is still there.

    • blood-curdling screams is my go-to description. like the dude’s holding nothing back with his delivery.

    • Jom Pootersan

      To me, on Lord Mantis he sounded more gross, and that’s what I was expecting. Probably just need to adjust to his changes. Still a Hell of a talent, though.

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        I think the music of Lord Mantis is also intended to be more vile and filthy. I do agree his screams sound a bit less blood-curdling here than they did on for instance Death Mask.
        Fell’s a straight-up animal. Lord Mantis doesn’t feel the same without him.

  • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

    I’ve seen this talked about a few times and a few pictures shared. I guess now is the tine to check it out. You had me at “riff taken straight out of your typical Wild West ye olde saloon” and “wester folk ambience” Sounds like my kind of weird shit.

    Nicely done Jom!

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Anything having to do with the Old Wild West gets my immediate attention.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Same here, especially when describing music. We need more Ennio Morricone inspired Heavy Metal.

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          If you haven’t listened to Gin already, that album definitely has a strong Ennio Morricone influence. It’s probably the only metal album that actually made me think of Cormac McCarthy and Blood Meridian.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            I will add it to the list.

            And make a run to the book store.

          • Jom Pootersan

            The first three tracks all have Western sounding guitars in them.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Oh yeah there are a lot of Western and Americana influences in Slow Forever. That’s a staple of Cobalt. But it does have a different feel compared to Gin.
            If Gin would be High Plains Drifter, Slow Forever would be The Wild Bunch. I mean, that’s the feeling I got from it.

          • Jom Pootersan

            The folk stuff on Gin and Eater of Birds is all acoustic. Slow Forever is the first time they’ve done that style with electric guitar.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            True. I found Gin to be a more desolate and “shamanistic” sounding album. Slow Forever is more action oriented in my opinion. Other may get a different feeling.

            I love the Western touches in Slow Forever as well though. Like the folky tune from Breathe they repeat at the end of Cold Breaker. Delicious.

        • ME GORAK B.C.™


  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I fucking love this album. Then again, I fucking love Cobalt.
    Though I have to say I missed stuff like this on Slow Forever…

  • If you haven’t seen it before, I highly suggest clicking that “Charlie Fell” link above to read a delightful story about silverware theft.

    • Stockhausen

      I have extremely high standards for my silverware theft stories. I hope you know what you’re doing.


    METAL m/m/

    We had to learn the whole God damn periodic table in college. Only to never be tested over it. It was the biggest fluckin scam I have ever been duped into learning.

    • yeah but that knowledge will make you feel starter when watching Breaking Bad

  • I have never listened Cobalt, so I think I will check it out if I ever have the opportunity again to listen thangs on Youtube.

    Good work, Jom.

    • Rob M

      I wouldnt start with this album though…go back and listen to either Gin or Eater of Birds first

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Get thee to Gin now!

  • Dubs

    My initial impression of this record was that the Tool influence was oddly persistent in the guitars, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Good review.

    • I am remembering correctly you were/are a big Tool fan?

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        As is everyone else with good taste (like me).

        AHUM AHUM (just kidding)

      • Dubs

        I’ve been known to enjoy a Tool album.

    • Jom Pootersan

      Definitely stripped away black metal influences and expounded on others (Tool/prog, Western, grunge, etc.)

    • have you listened to their second record Gin? lots of ambient/noisy interludes in the style of Tool.

  • Jom Pootersan

    thanks for the kind words, everyone

    • Eliza

      It’s a solid review.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Good revue, still not feeling the album though.

  • EsusMoose

    Great review, I have yet to try the album, my main hesitance is that Eater of Birds and Gin were both interesting to listen to but never struck me as digestible. This feeling and how long Slow Forever is puts me off. These are the times where I’d wish the artist would split the record into 2 eps, so I can tackle one in a single sitting and not have to stop and start it multiple times. I know we’ve discussed this topic a few times but I just want to gripe about this.

    • 1 vote for EPs, 0 votes for LPs.

      • EsusMoose

        Evolved People > Loser People

        • People<

        • ME GORAK B.C.™


          • EsusMoose

            Gorak plz! Cavemen can’t read

          • ME GORAK B.C.™

            U RITE!!!! WERDS STOOPID!!!! GORAK SMASH WERD!!!! UGG!!!

    • Jom Pootersan

      It’s technically a double-album, so you can stop after the 7th track, take a break (I did that a few times), and pick up 8-12 after.

      • EsusMoose

        I will have to keep that in mind, I have a spotify playlist of the record set up but I’ve just starred at it for the last 2 days, I’ll throw some random offputting track after the 7th to signal time to digest

  • Some of my thoughts on the album:
    – when they released ‘Beast Whip’ I was actually a little concerned, pre-ordered anyway on blind fan-boy faith
    – fortunately, ‘Beast Whip’ albeit a good song, still seems like one of the weaker tracks on the album
    – I love the use of samples in metal and ‘Iconoclast’ could become one of my favorites
    – the two longest tracks on the album are phenomenal
    – I think the album grows stronger towards the second half
    – i’m glad Fell’s vocals sound different than on Lord Mantis. They are two different bands and I’m glad Fell was able to tap into something different and show a little more dynamic (he still sounds crazy af)
    – ‘Siege’ is a great finale



    • Jom Pootersan

      Fully agreed on stronger second half.

    • So would you describe yourself as a Cobalt fan?

      • Jom Pootersan

        I would use the words ‘filthy casual,’ personally.

      • fun fact: I’ve never changed my avatar

    • Stockhausen

      I’m with you on all that, especially the vocal part. I really like what he did on this album.

    • Old Man Doom

      Goddamn, “Siege” is a great fucking closer.

      Agreed on Fell. I really love his contribution here.

  • Stockhausen

    As a new Cobalt listener/giant wannabe, I really dig this album. I think there was plenty of fat that could have been trimmed from the long run time, but with a name like Slow Forever that was probably the idea. I LOVE the folk/western tinge, and I see myself jamming this while drinking whiskey and shooting bandits in the near future.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Great review man, really looking forward to whenever I have the time and brainspace for this one.

  • Stockhausen

    Sorry to be off topic, but Joe, you really need to do something about these ads.

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      What ads?

      • Precisely?

      • RFI, brah

        • Wait, there are very strict rules about RFI’ing. Either put “…”, “..”, or call out the RFI as “RFI”. Come on ppl.


          • Stockhausen has no respect for the Refresh Conventions. #BanKarlheinz

          • Also, I did listen to the Sympathy record yesterday. It was not terrible.

          • Sympathy?

          • Whoops, Romantic. Sorry

          • Oh, haha. Ed and I were dismayed that we didn’t hate it. Of course, I listen to trap for the beat, so…

          • Stockhausen

            I also didn’t hate it. It was like a bad version of Mamaleek, but a version that I could give credit to for trying.

          • Stockhausen
          • Stockhausen

            I’m a loose cannon/douche.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          Thank you.


      • Oh, I’m an idiot. Carry on.

        • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

          SELF BURN

          • applyointmenttoburntareas.jpg

      • Stockhausen

        Man I’m good (at nothing of value).

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      Ooh, nice.

    • Salmon of Knowledge

      I earned $916473 this last four weeks and-in excess of, 100k this past month .. I actually started 4 days ago and straight away started making a cool minimum $72 per-hour .
      Basically you are all stupid, see how I earn $100 by doing absolutely nothing.
      This is 110% legit, please send me $10000 on my Caiman Island Bank account and we can start right on the spot.


  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    Somewhat off topic; listening to several tracks of Slow Forever again makes me realize how mediocre that new Lord Mantis song is. Fuck, what a disappointment.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Great review, Jom! I’m digging this stuff pretty mightily. Never listened to these guys before, but I’m with Stockhausen in that I’m really enjoying it as a first time listener.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed


  • Waynecro

    Thanks for the great review, Mr. Pootersan. I’m not a huge Cobalt fan–I like a few songs from each album–but I played Slow Forever during a long drive the other night and found a lot to like.

  • Spear

    This thing sounds like a thing that I would be into. Good review, Pooter-san.

  • slipjackthewanderer

    Great review and great album. Been stuck on this for a few days now and it’s fantastic. I pre-ordered because of Fell’s involvement alone and was not disappointed.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    Good review has made me want to check it out . This could be the release that breaks my 2016 rut

  • This album fucking rules.