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Crowbar01.jpgBandname: Crowbar
Title: Lifesblood of the Downtrodden
Genre: DoomCore
Release Date: February 2005
Record Company / Label: Candlelight Records / PhD



 
The true heavy weights of sludge are back! They’ve been known as the heaviest band on this earth and they sure know how to make a slow driving and down tuned album. They started way back in 1989 and released 7 full lengths with as many different line-ups through several record companies. The band stands for aggressive, low tempo sludge with a huge part of frustration and depression. Kirk Windstein is the founding member and the only constant in this story. Tearing down everything in his way, pouring out his heart and his soul. The new line-up, new record company and the new album (#8) are here, and they hit like a ten-ton hammer.


Line-Up

Kirk Windstein – vocals, guitars
Steve Gibb – guitars
Pat Bruders – bass guitars
Tommy Buckley - drums

Rex Brown – bass guitars (on this album)
Craig Nunenmacher – drums (on this album)



Song Review

1. New Dawn  – 3:59
From the first note you know. Crowbar’s back. The recognizable style of guitar riffing and the pounding drums build the soundtrack for Kirk’s intense vocals to be displayed. Dragging yet slightly up-tempo (for Crowbar standards). And there are the melodic and dramatic chords of the chorus, Kirk screaming “New Dawn brings me all I need”.  The return is very clear. If this is the marker for the rest of the album, this is going to be an incredible ride.

2.  Slave no More – 4:28
Another “up tempo” song. Slave no More pushes you around. Provoking the listener to get off his/her chair. As always the vocals are drenched with anger, frustration and pain. I actually never heard any other vocalist portray the emotions so well through the use of his voice. Another thing that caught my attention was the very clear and somewhat loudly mixed bass guitar. Rex Brown (formerly of Pantera) produced the album and played all the bass parts and that’s very clear. It definitely adds to the Crowbar sound.

3.  Angel’s Wings – 2:54

Every Crowbar album to date has one song that’s different. It’s fast, loud and incredibly “in your face”. And this album can’t stay behind. Angel’s Wings kicks off in a loud fashion and gives you the kick in the butt. What a slap in the face this is. Fast is followed by a doomy, slow part. And just when you think it’s all over they pick up the pace. Frustration and anger are scattered on every square inch of this song. An intense assault of under 3 minutes. Wow!

4. Coming Down – 5:19
And after that intensity a packed classic Crowbar riff opens the next track. Slow and dragging. Kirk screams less and the vocals almost turn ethereal. It reminds me of Planet Caravan from Black Sabbath at times. The chorus on the other hand is immense. Kirk screams “Coming Down” with a low-pitched, primal voice. Damn, this is intense. Definitely one of my favourite tracks on this album. Special mention for the drums. Craig (who played on several Crowbar albums) pulls off his signature drum works that suit Crowbar so well. Intense, inventive beats and breaks.

5. Fall Back to Zero – 6:27
A clean guitar (you never know if it actually is a guitar with Crowbar) sets a hypnotic trance-like mood, layered with Kirk’s “planet caravan” style vocals. Until the chorus kicks in and a powerful wall of guitars is pulled up and grooves till the point the trance of the verse returns. This pattern repeats itself. Then a mammoth of a groove sets in; offbeat and huge. How low are these guitars tuned? Must be at least down to A. The tempo drops and the clean guitars of the verse are back. The remaining couple of minutes the band slows more and more down, till the end of the song is inevitable.

6. Underworld – 2:59
After that the album needs another “up tempo” song Crowbar-style. And there it is. For many people this still won’t be categorized as up-tempo, but hey… we’re listening to the heaviest band in the world here. Sliding guitars and immense drum beats fill the next 3 minutes.  More screams from the gut and the drive that this song possesses grab you by the throat.

7. Dead Sun – 3:39
This song is more angry than depressed. Grooving verses and ultra slow choruses with multiple vocal lines. Crowbar manages to keep this style of music diverse and dynamic. An accomplishment in itself. This band could be a role-model to many self acclaimed doom bands. These guys know how to deliver the emotion.

8. Holding Something – 4:08
Slow and immense. It’s starting to become more of a fact than a fluke. It would be a disappointment if the next song wouldn’t be immense, intense and gut-wrenching real. Funny how something so bold and harsh as the heavy sounds of Crowbar can still be subtle and emotional. The song ends with something that can be best described as someone slowly and manually slowing down the tape the band recorded the song on. Fading into the next opus, which is Moon.

9. Moon – 3:48
This is a bit of an odd song. Clean, melodic guitars with a huge riff in the background and very diverse and intense vocals from Kirk. In someway this song is all over the place, a surprise waiting around every corner. Drum parts sometimes even take on the role of masked drum solo’s. A strange song, that sounds like it has no real clear structure.

10. The Violent Reaction – 4:58
More sludge to open this track. A slow track is slowly faded in, only to turn more and more up tempo when the vocals come in. “A lesson learned in ignorance”, screams Kirk. This song delivers the goods. It might as well hold all the different tempo’s the band has to offer. Jumping from one riff and tempo to the next. It displays the different stages of Anger, I guess… “The eyes of God are looking down…”

11. Life’s Blood – 7:16
Then an acoustic guitar fades in, followed by a piano and several layers of vocals. A totally different approach than any of the other songs. A very laid back, melancholic track. The sincerity of this band has shone through again. After 3 and a half minutes there are just acoustic guitars, piano, some synth sounds a clean guitar solo’s and a slide guitar. Making it very atmospheric and a very depressing ending to a very intense album. Slowly fading…


Technical information

Total playing time: 49:59
Total numbers: 11


Cover pictures

 Crowbar01.jpg


Conclusion

What a ride this album is. I´m so glad that this band has found its true form again. This album definitely belongs in the same space as my all-time favourite Crowbar album “Odd Fellows Rest”  from 1998. Kirk is still the man! This band will never reach huge audiences, but the people that get infected stay true for a long, long time. They are still the heaviest band on earth and probably heavily underrated as well. They deserve a chance. Small note: the artwork on the outside is great and moody, the inside, however, looks like a CSI notebook and totally doesn’t agree with the outside, in my opinion.
Give this band a chance (and don’t get scared off by the photo of Kirk inside with a beard). There’s no band that knows how to get a hold of your gut and won't let go until you experience their pain… first-hand. 


Rating

Music: 8
Sound: 8
Extra's: n/a
Total: 8

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