In recent years, the city of Hull (a port on the north-east coast of England) has been a surprisingly fertile breeding ground for various flavours of angry bands. From the ugly noises of Black Tongue and Mastiff, through the chaotic hardcore of the very greatly missed The Colour Line, past the post-hardcore of Liberate Mae and on to the metal riffing of Dividium and Sworn Amongst. There’s probably more I’m forgetting, too. As the popular saying goes, it’s grim up north. Now joining this varied but unrelentingly angry family of bands comes 99% Cobra, a hardcore trio with a mischievous streak and a penchant for experimentation. Since breaking cover in the summer of 2018, 99% Cobra have been building a reputation for spiky tunes, energetic live shows and a steadily growing collection of playfully ludicrous videos. Clearly, 99% Cobra do not take themselves personally as seriously as they take their riffs.
On April 19th, 99% Cobra will release their first EP, giving us our first chance to listen to them for more than a couple of minutes at a time. But not much more. Programmed To Coalesce squeezes it’s six tracks into less than fifteen minutes, but still has a fair amount to say. Or rather, to scream in your face whilst standing on your chest. Elements of Every Time I Die, Dillinger Escape Plan and Refused can be heard in their brash and confrontational sound. Fast riffs, slow riffs, mathcore spazz-outs and bucketloads of bellowing are the order of the day.
However, there are also some less common elements that make 99% Cobra’s offering a more tantalising proposition. When listening to Programmed To Coalesce, the most overt of these is the inclusion of a pair of EDM-inspired interlude tracks, suggesting a broader sphere of influence than manifests in the four ‘proper’ songs. Beyond that, the tonal experimentations of Coilguns and Frontierer have also influenced the band’s direction and approach, from some liberal whammy pedal abuse to the physical configuration of the band. Without a full-time bass player, guitarist Harry Holness carrying out both roles, often simultaneously thanks to a multi-rig setup.
It is still very early days for 99% Cobra, but Programmed To Coalesce is dripping with potential. Indeed, you can virtually hear the band maturing through the course of the EP, with final track “Beautiful Debris” being the real pick of the bunch, packing a thick and chewy groove. This song, too, comes equipped with a most enjoyable solution to the problem of creating a video worth watching on a minimal budget, and avoiding the standard ‘deserted warehouse’ backdrop – especially if you’re a movie buff. Check it out to see what I mean here:
With the band looking to strike out more often from their Yorkshire base in the coming months, and the significant progression in the band’s sound even since their first singles last year, 99% Cobra is definitely a band that fans of hardcore with a progressive twist should keep their eye on. Promising stuff.
Programmed to Coalesce will be available on April 19th from the band’s Big Cartel page.