It's been quite a year for the terrific art metal band Cobalt. After finally becoming a functioning live band in 2013, a decade into their career, founding vocalist Phil McSorley left the band. Remaining member Erik Wunder then picked things back up again with Lord Mantis' Charlie Fell on vocals and back in March they put out Slow Forever, which remains one of the best albums of 2016 in any genre.

It already looks like the new lineup of the band will be more of a touring force than the last one, as they've been on the road with Mantar since September 1 and will continue through their September 24 show in Denver. That's the lengthiest run of Cobalt dates ever. That tour hit NYC on Sunday (9/18) at Saint Vitus with local support from Pyrolatrous, a band with current/former members of Hull, Krallice, Geryon and Anicon. (I missed them but our photographer did not.)

Cobalt kicked things off with "Hunt The Buffalo," the opening track on Slow Forever, and made it pretty clear right away that this live lineup means business. Fell is solely on vocal duties and Wunder of course is behind the (very massive) kit, and they're joined by a guitarist and a bassist. Both live members are very skilled, as musicians and performers, especially the guitarist whose headbangs alone made Cobalt fun to watch. The real draw, visually, though, was Charlie Fell. He was very theatrical, always looking totally mesmerized by the music, and he could shake things up too -- like when he poured a full bottle of NyQuil over his bare chest.

After "Hunt The Buffalo," Cobalt proceeded to play a set that consisted mostly of pre-Slow Forever songs. I'm sure the crowd had plenty of people who have waited forever to hear those songs live, but I did expect/hope them to focus more on the new album. Any time you've spent most of a year listening to a new record, you want to go see it performed live. But more importantly than that in this situation, it just felt like the Charlie Fell-fronted version of the band should be playing the songs that, you know, he actually sings on. Sometimes, it felt like the show neared cover-band territory. That said, they were still tight as all hell for those songs and they were of course a thrill to hear. And then the show wrapped up with Slow Forever material and all was good in the world.

Mantar, a duo both in the studio and live, provided quality direct support. The German band does sludge with notes taken from Melvins, Mastodon, High on Fire, etc, and if you dig those bands, you pretty much know what you're getting from Mantar. They do it well, and it's really pretty impressive how much low-end they get without a bassist. Pictures of them, Cobalt, and Pyrolatrous are in the gallery above.


photos by Amanda Hatfield

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