Phil McSorley — Cobalt
I had to deal with a load of personal shit yesterday, and I do mean a load of shit. For the second time in about six months, my car was broken into on Sunday night while parked in a lot on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Passenger side window smashed in — again. Laptop and other personal valuables stolen — again. When will I learn? I’d like to come across the motherfucker who did this. Killing would be excessive, but I could live with myself if I permanently crippled him.
And then, after spending a crapload of time trying to figure out how to get my car window replaced (again), changing internet passwords to be safe, and working on replacing everything that was stolen, I somehow managed to load malware into my PC at work — the one I almost never use because I prefer to use my MacBook (the one that was stolen) because shit like that never happens to it. And so I had to surrender that PC to our IT department to figure out how to clean it up, leaving me to sit around with my thumb up my butt.
To sum up, my feeble plans to live some kind of blog life yesterday were basically fucked like a tethered goat.
And when I finally did get back on line, I found some unfortunate metal news items. And other bad things happened, too. But I’ll just stick with the unfortunate metal news items, because no matter what other people may tell you when you’re in the dumps, tales of personal woe are never welcome.
When I finally got back on line late yesterday I discovered two resignations from members of two noteworthy bands — one of the bands being a big deal in global metal circles and one being much more under-the-radar, but at least as good. And I’m starting with the bad news about the second one.
Cobalt began under a different name as the solo project of Phil McSorley and then really became something rare and wonderful when Erik Wunder joined McSorley and Cobalt was born. They weren’t prolific music-makers, in part because McSorley was in the US Army serving tours of duty in such places as Iraq and South Korea (and you don’t find many people who juggle Army careers with membership in a black metal band, do you?). But their albums were quite good, and the last one — 2009’s Gin — was downright stunning.
Late yesterday McSorley posted this message on the Cobalt Facebook page:
I have decided to quit Cobalt. I am grateful for what Cobalt started from, and the impressive amount of people affected by its music. I still feel a connection with the work we did, but I no longer feel that I am a part of its vision.
Cobalt started with Erik and I making angry and heartfelt music, that later moved into more expressive music. It held a ton of symbology to my life, and for its help in making me who I am I am grateful.
I will continue to make music on my own terms, but for me Cobalt is best left where it is. Thanks to all for the years of friendship and support. If Erik continues to create under the name Cobalt I support his decision. He was always a genius anyway.
This is one of those farewells that, while undoubtedly honest, leaves you with a load of questions about what wasn’t said. It really doesn’t explain McSorley’s reasons for leaving Cobalt; and when he says he’ll continue to make music on his own terms, the implication is that maybe Cobalt no longer left room for that. One of the questions left unanswered is what has become of the album, to be named Slow Forever, that McSorley said would be recorded by Cobalt after an East Coast tour last spring.
But hey, it’s not that I think he owes anyone an explanation — he doesn’t owe me or you shit. But I can’t help being frustrated at this turn of events and curious about what led to it. Yet even though the message is cryptic, it’s still very classy.
I guess this means I won’t get to see Cobalt live, which is a shame. They played Maryland Deathfest last year, and people I know who saw the performance told me it was one of the true highlights of the whole festival. Fortunately, videographer Frank Huang was there for Cobalt’s performance, filming from right in front of the stage. I’ve featured one of his videos of the performance here before, and I’ll embed it again below.
The song is a combo of “Throat” and “Stomach” from Gin, and the video and audio quality are good. In the music, there is a calm before the storm, not quite peaceful, a hint of something coming. When the black skies open, it rains fuckin’ hard. This is one hell of a badass jam.
lifted from Metal Injection
I guess I don’t need to provide background about Sweden’s Arch Enemy. I’ll just go right to Angela Gossow’s announcement yesterday:
Dear Arch Enemy fans, this is not easy to tell you…I have decided to step down from being Arch Enemy’s voice of anger. After 13 years of pure fucking metal, 6 studio albums and countless tours through five continents, I feel the need to enter a different phase in my life, be with my family and pursue other interests. I will however remain business manager for Arch Enemy, and I will continue to develop my artist management roster.
I am staying true to my heavy metal roots, just leaving the spotlight so to speak. I am passing the torch to the super talented Alissa White-Gluz, whom I’ve known as a dear friend and a superb vocalist for many years. I always thought she deserved a chance to shine – and now she’s getting it. Just like I got that chance back in 2001.
I want to thank all Arch Enemy fans, our labels Century Media (worldwide) and Trooper Entertainment (Japan), our dedicated road crew, and in particular Michael, Daniel and Sharlee for their love and support throughout all these years. It’s been one hell of a ride! We conquered every situation, made it through thick & thin together in the most exciting and rewarding time of my life. Thank you all for being there with me on stage, in front of the stage, and backstage. You have touched my heart, and I hope I was able to give something back to you. I am grateful for the wonderful memories – I will cherish them forever!
I am looking forward to the next decade of Arch Enemy madness! Right now I am listening through rough mixes of the new studio album and I am blown away! 2014 will see a renewed Arch Enemy at the top of their game. I am proud to be part of this Arch Enemy chapter, albeit in a different way – revving up the engines behind the scenes. I hope to see you in front of the stage, I will join you there this time. Let the killing begin, once again!
Once again, this is a farewell statement that doesn’t really explain all the reasons for the decision. Once again, I’m sort of dismayed, though not to the same extent as my Cobalt dismay. Angela was something of a lightning rod during her Arch Enemy tenure, with purists persistently proclaiming that her vocals really weren’t that great and that Arch Enemy went downhill after she replaced Johan Liva. But no one can deny that her presence at the front of the band paved the way for an explosion of their global popularity. I always thought she was cool, and she was a charismatic presence in the live AE shows I had the pleasure of seeing.
Of course, with Angela stepping down, AE could have had their pick of vocalists — they could have gone with some big hairy male growler with a deep underground pedigree (or a clean-cut Army vet named McSorley). But I guess they felt their best chance of hanging on to their big fan base was to stay with an attractive female presence behind the mic. Here’s the new promo pic:
This switch has obviously been in the works for a while, because yesterday The Agonist promptly announced the replacement for Alissa White-Gluz — and yes, they’re staying with an attractive female frontperson, too. Her name is Vicky Psarakis:
As we previously reported, Arch Enemy have recorded a new album, presumably with Angela Gossow providing all the vocals. The name is War Eternal and it’s set for release in June. Apparently a new track from the album will be released for listening later this week.
You got any thoughts about any of this? If so, you know where to leave ’em.