"Symmetry in Black" (Century Music; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is the tenth studio disc from these sludge masters and their first with Century Media Records. Since these guys have been dooming their listeners for more than twenty years it's par for the course when you hear their slow drudge guitar come in and rumble your smooth sailing music to dust. Not just content with pulling you down under with their doom metal, Crowbar can also speed things up with a punk track thus causing you to bow once again to their dual assault on your right and left brainisphere.

"Symmetry in Black" consists of twelve tracks that can either push you toward the edge or bring you back to grab a friend so you can have a jump buddy. The track "Amaranthine" is a slow acoustic type song, nothing heavy per se but it's got depth. All the tracks on this disc are heavy, brooding and Down-right (a little dig if you know what I'm talking about) mood-grubbingingly depressing ... but what else would you want from these four horsemen of the doom scene.

Crowbar: Kirk Windstein - vocals, guitars; Matthew Brunson - gutiars; Jeff Golden - bass; Tommy Buckley - drums.

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"Lifesblood for the Downtrodden" (Candlelight; 2005)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

The kings of sludge have returned after a four-year slumber, as the mighty New Orleans troupe Crowbar triumphantly release their latest 11-track endeavor. And now, after spending most of his time supporting the latest Down project, Kirk Windstein isn't messing around. 

Enlisting metal all-stars Rex Brown (Pantera) and Craig Nunenmacher (BLS) to the seemingly endless band member rotation, the end result of "Lifesblood for the Downtrodden" may just be the most staggeringly crushing outing by the band ever.

From the trademarked gloom and doom riffages of opener "New Dawn" to the uncharacteristic ballistic barrage of "Angel's Wings," Crowbar's emergence from the 'where are they now' file is a hearty and bold homecoming for the NOLA purveyors of heavy. 

Anguished as ever, yet at times -- like the cascading six-minute opus "Fall Back to Zero" -- as pristine as Sabbath, Crowbar's monstrous riffs, punishing rhythms, and general mammoth sonic output never sounded as necessary as it does here. 

The 2005 soundtrack for your suffering has arrived. 

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"Sludge: History of Crowbar" (Spitfire; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Sludge" is a CD that every heavy metal fan should have on their shelf. The CD, subtitled "History of Sludge," is just that - a collection of the best tracks from six Crowbar albums, ranging from their self-titled debut to "Equilibrium" (reviewed below).

Crowbar may not be known for raging, early-Metallica speed riffing, but these masters of heavy, pounding doom certainly know how to drive their point home. Every track on "Sludge" is a hard-driving classic, guaranteed to make your stereo speakers explode with sound.

Included are four songs from the band's debut (including the ever-awesome "All I Had (I Gave)," one track from "Time Heals Nothing" and three tracks each from "Obedience Thru Suffering," "Odd Fellows Rest" and "Equilibrium." The band's live recording, "Live +1" is also featured here with a live rendition of "Fixation." 

If you're unfamiliar with Crowbar, this is a great place to start out. If you're a fan, and you've already got the albums represented here on your shelf, this may not be a necessity. Regardless, "Sludge: History of Crowbar" delivers its namesake in more ways than one.

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"Equilibrium" (Spitfire; 2000)

Reviewed by Kate Smith

Crowbar brings many surprises to their new release "Equilibrium," including pulling off a decent cover of Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" as the CD's last track. Rewriting the hit song's chorus in their doomy fashion fits into their masterwork of cosmic depression successfully. 

These guys don't offer you the same technical thrash but bring it in slow and melodic with crunching guitars and pounding percussion, creating a morph of Type O Negative, My Dying Bride and Pink Floyd all rolled into one. 

Even at a higher level speed, Crowbar's sound still remains structured and defined and Kirk's searing vocals gives the music many levels of depth. The lyrics catch the listener's attention as well and finds are easily identifiable - mostly talking about life's ups and downs and finding strength through hard times. "To Touch the Hand of God," which explores the subject of death and dying, delves into a level that's almost spiritual. Bringing in a song like this shows that the band is still hard and heavy but able to move forward as well.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.