Crowbar are a band that need absolutely no introductions; ‘Symmetry In Black’ is their tenth studio album – a huge milestone for them and this opus is particularly special, as it’s the first release since Kirk Windstein’s departure from Down and the first time he’s produced a Crowbar album where this band is genuinely the only thing he has to concentrate on musically. This level of dedication shines through on each and every track, and while Crowbar have never released a bad record, this latest release is genuinely one of their tightest efforts to date.
For me, ‘Symmetry In Black’ is a display of Windstein’s eclectic musical influences – he claims to enjoy everything from Motorhead to 70’s pop and this really stands out. There are tracks such as ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ where the drums burst forth from the speakers with such brutal intent that it feels as though your face might get blasted right off, to ‘Ageless Decay’ which literally seems as though it might collapse under the weight of the heaviness of its own riffs. Most surprising of all is the slower, cleaner sounding numbers like ‘Amaranthine’ where Kirk’s voice takes on a softer quality and proudly displays a wider vocal range than we’ve ever seen before.
The dynamics of this release are sharp as a tack and I could really tell that the band had driven their instruments that little bit harder to pull something huge out of the bag; the diversity of the song writing alone is testament to this and this has quickly poised itself as one of my favourite Crowbar records as I’ve been listening to it over these last few weeks.
Crowbar haven’t fully relinquished their stranglehold of that feeling of gut wrenching misery, however, we are treated to this in full force on ‘A Wealth Of Empathy’ – it’s slow and strong, moody and brooding – just what the band do best. The production quality of this album is just outstanding and while every element has banded together to make the full brute force of ‘Symmetry In Black’ you can still clearly distinguish between the bass, the guitars and the driving force of the drums.
This is probably the most miserable, ill-begotten collection of riffs I’ve ever been fortunate enough to listen to and Crowbar have done it yet again; creating an instant classic and re-affirmed why they are one of the best sludge acts the genre has to offer. Long may they reign.
Scribed by: Angela Davey