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Symmetry In Black
June 2014
Released: 2014, E1 Entertainment
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

Legendary New Orleans Sludge Sluggers Crowbar are back with their Tenth Album "Symmetry In Black", and it really sounds like they have a point to prove.

"Walk With Knowledge Wisely" opens the album with a characteristic canyon-sized groove. Frontman Kirk Windstein shows that he has lost none of his gravelly charm. On "Symmetry in white he adopts a cleaner vocal style on the verses. Needless to say this track in heavier than an elephant's scrotum. The album continues with "The Taste Of Dying" raises the tempo, and contains a superb, catchy melodic chorus. It's crunching closing riff is thick like the mud of the Louisiana Bayou. "Reflection Of Deceit" possesses another effective chorus and uses doom-laden guitar harmonies to startling effect. The frothing madness of "Ageless Decay" shows Crowbar really gnashing their teeth and going for it in harsh, almost thrash-like fashion. It's chorus is like a hammer blow to the face. "Amaranthine" is soulful, delicate and poignant tune. It is superbly crafted and at 2.47 it doesn't outstay it's welcome. It is followed by the aptly titled "The Foreboding" which boasts a peach of a riff and hellish vocal harmonies. The bludgeoning barrage of "Shamen Of Belief" is next, pursued closely by "Teach The Blind To See"; a discordant, vitriolic bête noire of a track. The only real disappointment on the album is the somewhat turgid "A Wealth Of Empathy", which does not take up residence in the memory like the other tracks do. "Symbolic Suicide" is an acerbic rager, full of piss and vinegar, and boasts a doom riff worthy of Iommi, Edling or Griffin. The Album closes with the instrumental "The Piety Of Self Loathing" and, as the title suggests, overflows with dark introspection without sacrificing any of the band's trademark heaviness.

As a complete beast "Symmetry In Black" is awesome. An aural volcanic eruption, it's sonic lava flow relentless, destructive and unstoppable. One of the albums of the year.

Review By Owen Thompson
Track Listing

1) Walk With Knowledge Wisely
2) Symmetry In White
3) The Taste Of Dying"
4) Reflection Of Deceit
5) Ageless Decay
6) Amaranthine
7) The Foreboding
8) Shaman Of Belief
9) Teach The Blind To See
10) A Wealth Of Empathy
11) Symbolic Suicide
12) The Piety Of Self Loathing


Kirk Windstein - Vocals/Guitars/Bass
Tommy Buckley - Drums
Matthew Brunson - Guitars
Jeff Golden - Bass



Next review: » Crowbar - Symmetry In Black
Previous review: » Crowbar - Sludge: History of Crowbar

Symmetry In Black
June 2014
Released: 2014, eOne Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

Twenty-five years and it seems Crowbar still haven’t put down that big ol’ chunk of metal they’ve long been hefting. Them’s some strong shoulders. Handy though because you might need it to prise open SYMMETRY IN BLACK like a sonically-leaden oyster, but what’s inside is perhaps collectively one of the biggest pearls of Crowbar’s career.

Now as much reported, Kirk Windstein has recently stepped away from Down, another multi-decade project of his partial making, to concentrate on Crowbar because as any good mother knows your baby never stops being your baby. No sorry Down, that’s not you.

Naturally with Down’s latest EP offering proving to be another good ‘un, there might be some people going “shit Kirk did you do the right thing?” SYMMETRY IN BLACK says yes. Very loudly. In a voice that’s tuned low and often speaks slow.

But not always – what makes SYMMETRY IN BLACK such an impressive slab is the diversity that has been woven into Crowbar’s classic sound. So whilst ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ has been bottle-fed on Windstein and co’s doomy-melancholy, ‘Symbolic Suicide’ picks up the pace, hardcore style, before dropping you straight into the sludge. The closing moments of the song have the sonic feel of a concrete bellyflop.

Almost title-track ‘Symmetry In White’ continues Crowbar’s trend for crushing the life out of you, overlaid with a vocal performance that is like a lens has been held up to Windstein, and made everything clearer and more defined. Don’t worry though – his voice continues to sound like that of a man in a perpetual state of anguish. In fact the whole of SYMMETRY IN BLACK sounds about as crisp as Crowbar have, and probably ever will without losing some of that delightful sludginess. When you listen to Crowbar you want them to leave a trail behind, and not have someone wipe up all those footprints.

‘The Taste Of Dying’ and ‘Teach The Blind To See’ both have well-fed grooves, in contrast to ‘Amaranthine’ - a rough choral acoustic number, that sits in the place of a midway rest point which actually makes you want to stay awhile. Although different in their approach, both ‘The Foreboding’ with its odd high, dual-vocals, and ‘The Piety Of Self-Loathing’, which closes with four-minutes of instrumental subtext, remind you that music can say everything it needs to without any words.

Crowbar has never been a band to be babysitted, and SYMMETRY IN BLACK proves how given the full love and attention of all parents it can only grow stronger. And we suspect Windstein isn’t feeling too ‘down’ about that.

Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Track Listing

1. Walk With Knowledge Wisely
2. Symmetry In White
3. The Taste Of Dying
4. Reflection Of Deceit
5. Ageless Decay
6. Amaranthine
7. The Foreboding
8. Shaman Of Belief
9. Teach The Blind To See
10. A Wealth Of Empathy
11. Symbolic Suicide
12. The Piety Of Self-Loathing


Kirk Windstein – Vocals/Guitar
Matthew Brunson – Guitar
Tommy Buckley – Drums
Jeff Golden – Bass

Next review: » Crown the Lost - Cold Pestilent Hope
Previous review: » Crowbar - Sludge: History of Crowbar

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