|Crowbar - ‘Symmetry In Black’ (Century Media)|
|Written by Darrel Sutton|
|Monday, 26 May 2014 04:00|
It’s hard to believe that Crowbar have been going for 25 years. I vividly remember the first time I let the enormous, down-tuned riffs engulf me and to this day songs like ‘The Only Factor’ and ‘Lack Of Tolerance’ are, to me, the epitome of what heavy music really is. And, to a certain extent, not a lot has changed with the Crowbar sound over a quarter of a century. The personnel that have manned the ranks may have changed fairly constantly but the band’s founder and mainstay Kirk Windstein has never wavered in his belief and vision for the band. There may have been his long-term membership of Down, which ran in parallel for 22 years and achieved more commercial success, and his more recent side project of Kingdom Of Sorrow but, if you were to cut Kirk open you’d find Crowbar tattooed right through the middle of him. Hence the reason that he has called time on his Down membership to concentrate his efforts on Crowbar.
The press release accompanying this album claims it sees the Crowbar sound moving forward and from the opening strains of ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ it’s very apparent that their sound has certainly evolved. Sure it’s still extremely heavy but the overall feel of this record is one of great maturity. At times over recent albums Crowbar have been brutally heavy without really producing a consistent set of songs. The albums have certainly been no duffers, last album ‘Sever The Wicked Hand’ in particular paving the way for this record extremely well, but this record, particularly after repeated listens, certainly seem to be justifying Kirk’s 100% devotion to the Crowbar cause. Whether it’s the lumbering catharsis of ‘Symmetry In White’, complete with the cleanest vocals I’ve heard on a Crowbar record in ages, or the hardcore-tinged riffing of ‘Symbolic Suicide’ the levels seem to have been upped just that little bit more. With a truly tight-knit line-up firing on all cylinders the overall feeling of the record is of a band showing it’s built to last for many years to come.
The riffs of Windstein and his muse of the fretboard Matt Brunson (who he also teamed up with for Kingdom Of Sorrow) are the foundation of the band but songs like ‘The Taste Of Dying’ or ‘Shaman Of Belief’ are much more than exercises in down-tuned excess. They are fucking great rock songs. And Crowbar, despite any preconceptions, are a fucking great rock band. Period.