CROWBAR – Sever The Wicked Hand
Mainman vocalist/guitarist Kirk Windstein hasn’t been idle in the six year lapse between Crowbar studio efforts. Juggling his time between super group Down and side group Kingdom Of Sorrow, we all know his head and heart have always been in the right place for this doom/ sludge metal style. "Sever The Wicked Hand" serves up 12 more slices of the Crowbar heaviness, even if members come and go in the lineup saga.
For those uninitiated to the fold, this act from Louisiana are one of the forerunners in the sludge metal movement, which blends hardcore/punk-like parts with brooding, slower doom chords and melancholic vocals dripping over the top. Probably not the type of music to provoke a stronger female to male appeal ratio – and yet its outburst through distortion fuels a movement certain to make any bad day seem that much better after a front to end play back.
Be it a 3:42 instrumental like “A Farewell To Misery” which penetrates the depths of your soul through its simpler, repetitive bass and guitar lines or the forceful doom march “Protectors Of The Shrine” with compelling slower double bass runs from Tommy Buckley, Crowbar just know how to deliver bone crushing riffs and melodies track to track. My favorite cut “The Cemetery Angels” begins in up tempo fashion for the front half of its arrangement before a super slow crawl riff a la “Davidian” from Machine Head assures supreme crowd reaction once this enters their live set.
Kirk’s voice has that chilling bellow that’s unmistakably metal while enunciating with a clarity that allows the listener to make out the lyrics without a requisite lyric cheat sheet for the majority of the album. Produced by Windstein and mixed by famed producer Zeuss (Shadows Fall, Hatebreed), "Sever The Wicked Hand" lives up to its album’s title sonically – down tuned, lumbering and as heavy as a series of two by fours clubbing you incessantly across your face.
20 years recording albums and newly sober, Kirk and his compatriots welcome their leadership mantra with this ninth full length – seeking out a wider audience on their own terms, which is fine by me.