Review: Obey Cobra ‘Mwg Drwg’

If I were to say name more than three Welsh bands, how easy a task would this be? Especially if said to do it without the help of the internet, and then went further, and said ‘in a heavy music genre’, would you be able to? I know for me, I would struggle. Beyond The Stereophonics, Bullet For My Valentine, and Skindred there aren’t overly a long list that instantly spring to mind.

Obey Cobra 'Mwg Drwg' Artwork
Obey Cobra ‘Mwg Drwg’ Artwork

For me, this is why, in part, I don’t tend to name-check Wales as a cultural beehive for metal and alternative bands, until now. Having been handed the new Obey Cobra album Mwg Drwg I may need to readdress that standpoint after all.

For those who don’t know of the band and I’m sure many will, as the previous album Oblong was reviewed by the one and only Mister Mark Hunt-Bryden for this very webzine back in 2020, the band are a fusion experimental post-punk electronic band, with some stoner doom and psychedelia thrown in for good measure.

Fast forward to 2024, and after an evolution in personnel, the band are back as a quartet and are ready to melt your face off with this latest release Mwg Drwg. Eleven tracks full of avant-garde concepts, fucked up electronica with bursts and flourishes of pure industrial insanity colliding to produce an outpouring unlike anything else roaming the planet right now.

There’s also a fair smidge of calmer in the storm, so if this already sounds like something you might like to invest some time in, and more the point, some money, then check out Obey Cobra as they are insanely good. And Mwg Drwg, just to dig a bit deeper, is eleven tracks of what can only be described as a band in a constant flux of ideas and transitions where no prolonged period sees the band resting on their laurels.

Coming in at just under forty-five minutes, the album is going to be a culture shock to some, and I imagine quite polarising with ‘metal’ fans, but you know what, that doesn’t matter at all, all you need to do is turn it up to 11, and the problem will be sorted… see, helping out with practical tips too, you’re welcome.

In all seriousness, the overall feeling and vibe is one of fear, discomfort, and claustrophobia. The listener will, at every turn, feel slightly at ease with it all and I’m sure this is exactly what the band is going for. It’s an exercise in upsetting the standards, moving forward musically, and using technology with real instrumentation to make for an experience in which the listener feels so much more than even just the pure dread of it all.

Abrasive, close, and infectious, this is an album that will stay with you long after its conclusion…

It’s a curious album, and even in my forty-nine years on this planet, I think I can safely say, even though I thought I had heard it all, that isn’t the case at all.

Tracks such as the album opener Blank Tape, and then its successor Ten Of Wands will open your world up as Obey Cobra usher you in to their messed-up nightmare world, leaving you battered and bruised before the first ten minutes are even over. Scathing in sound, they remind me of Brighton’s CLT DRP, not so much on a par with the Brighton noise monsters, but more so with that venomous spirit.

It is lovely to see though, the next generation of noise being created, and experimented with, to be so much more than just a standard four-piece band with a guitar, bass, drums and singer set up.

Blue Hour, track four on the album, and AI GF expose another side to the band, and add extra depth to their versatility. One being a drudgier, moodier affair, which will build on intensity throughout, and the other, an eclectic electronic interlude which will leave the mind puzzled as to its very existence.

Personally, I really enjoyed Tolerance Break, and even though it did strike me that it had a dance vibe, by the flip side of the same coin, it was industrially tinged too. There was such a fine line, and I feel that this is where Obey Cobra excel as a band. That being said, I also really enjoyed Half Smile as its initial pensive start, opens out in to a harsher, more abrasive segway, before dropping back into a murky darkness, which ebbs and flows through the whole track.

By the time album closer Blackweir has climaxed, I feel thoroughly beaten aurally. The nature of the album is to inspire discomfort and unease, and in that, its mission accomplished. Abrasive, close, and infectious, this is an album that will stay with you long after its conclusion.

Label: Rocket Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish