Crowbar – “The Serpent Only Lies” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Be fearful. Be very fearful indeed. NOLA’s original sludge monsters Crowbar have returned with yet another crushing and brooding piece of malevolence. Back in the early 90s, founder front man guitarist Kirk Windstein and his heavyweight cohorts seemingly took the world by storm by being the very antithesis of everything at the time – devoid of image, overweight, ugly and playing some of the most plodding, depressive metal since Sabbath first hatched their monster – Crowbar went on to win a legion of ‘fat bastard’ fans addicted to their leadened but incredibly catchy material – myself included! Since that time, they’ve turned in some 10 albums in like style, joined along the way by a plethora of musicians including EyeHateGod’s Jimmy Bower and Acid Bath’s Sammy Pierre Duet. Now, with the return of founding bassist Todd Strange, Windstein has turned back the clock 3 decades to go back to the massive riffage and irresistible song arrangements that made their mark on me oh so long ago. Still with that equally tortured screaming drawl from hell, Windstein’s vocals match the savagery of the dirty, down tuned riffs, along with Strange’s own deep rumbling bass and Tommy Buckley’s dull, thudding drums on pulverizing numbers like ‘Plasmic And Pure’ and ‘I Am The Storm’. With stints also in Down, Windstein also shows a more measured approach on the likes of ‘On Holy Ground’, tempering the grimness a tad by kicking the vocals back into the mix and layering them with harmonies sorta like a dark choir – pretty apt given the song title. Equally, on ‘The Enemy Beside You’ – dedicated to whiners the world over – he lyrically impresses on the need to help oneself with the rallying cry of ‘…if you grow a set of balls, you might just change your life..’ amid a harsh Motorhead meets Sabbath beat! Crowbar are indeed back in all their monstrous and magnificent glory so prepare to be flattened once again!!!