Review: Cobra Skulls – Bringing The War Home [EP]

Cobra Skulls fast became a staple in my listening habits straight away with their debut, Sitting Army. An incredible album where everything has ‘Cobra’ in the title. Every song sounded a little different and there were songs about the lack of a scene and well… preachers and manwhores. American Rubicon, the follow up was just as spectacular, and we were left begging for the Skulls to make an appearance in the UK. Now, they’ve come forth with a new EP, Bringing The War Home, representing the beginning of a new era as they move from Red Scare to Fat Wreck. Can it measure up to their previous genius?

The short answer, is of course, yes. It’s the Cobra Skulls you know and love, but unlike previous albums, it’s clear to see where some of the influences are from on this one. That said, it’s all while sounding completely original and is a great addition to their discography. As the name may suggest, it’s somewhat more politically driven than previous material, but this is barely surprising – politics has always featured in a Cobra Skulls CD, just not as prominently. Ultimately, it’s a great listen. It’s still fun, it’s still fist pumpingly brilliant.

The EP opens on Doomsday Parade. A brass section, in my Cobra Skulls? It’s more likely than you think. The brass section as the end, as indicated by the lyric “You’ll make me a trumpet in your doomsday parade”, works well, adding to that feeling of fury and brings a completely new dimension to the song. The song itself refers to recent and ongoing troubles in Africa and the importance of uniting nations against terrorism and dictatorships, a pretty noble endeavour. Bringing The War Home certainly means this throughout – every song connects an issue in the world to America, making it painfully aware that even if you think you’re disconnected from this world of danger, you really are not. ICE In The Night is an upbeat affair, its lyrics underlying something much more sinister, as people are kidnapped in their sleep. The juxtaposition of such a jangly guitar part and upbeat vocals next to such a dark subject simply serves to make it more poignant.

Hot Sand is possibly the central affair in this whole EP, both literally and lyrically. Written from the perspective of American soldiers and discussing the state of affairs back home as well as out in Afghanistan, it perfectly displays the problems arising from, well… everywhere. It’s certainly my favourite track on the EP for its furious sound and its hark back to a previous era – the Offspring influence over the end section can’t be denied. It’s short and sweet but truly packs a punch. Give You Nothing is a Bad Religion cover that fits well with the rest of the songs, and features Fat Mike as well. Cobra Skulls really make the song their own without losing any of the original sound that made the song so damn great in the first place. This song can also be found on the Bad Religion tribute album, Germs Of Perfection.

Closing track, Life In Vain, is the perfect ender. Right from the bass lead in, it’s a pretty dancey affair and while not quite as overtly political as the other tracks, it still tells of scene politics and the struggle of making it in a band. Truly, Cobra Skulls are one of the few bands that have to worry about being original, because there are no other bands quite like them out there right now. Life In Vain is definite proof of that. It’s not quite as forceful as some of the other songs but in that respect, it makes a better closing track – a peaceful, thoughtful lead out.

Every song is under three minutes, proving that you don’t need to provide some kind of epic in order to succeed. Every song is right to the point; an onslaught of awesome. For an EP, it’s pretty expensive in the UK, costing about £7 for a CD copy but trust me, it’s worth every penny. A fantastic return for the Skulls!

4.5 out of 5 high fives!

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