Crowbar’s special blend of New Orleans-tainted sludge metal has been around for the better part of three decades and is still going strong. The band is known for their “tune low and play slow” methodology, and they are at the top of the mountain in their genre and respected throughout the metal kingdom, not only for their musicianship, but their tenacity to survive all that the music industry has thrown at them. Kirk Windstein’s vocals are in peak performance on The Serpent Only Lies, the follow up to 2014’s Symmetry in Black, and word is, he studied not only the first two Crowbar albums before writing this album, but some Trouble and Type O Negative, too. Bassist Todd “Sexy T” Strange is back in the band as well, which lends to a more throwback sound.
It’s evident from the opening notes of “Falling While Rising” that the band are living up to their mantra of “Heavier Than All!” This is Crowbar doing what they do best. The riffs are razor-sharp, and Windstein’s vocals are as armor-piercing as ever. “Plasmic and Pure” has a tribal-like intro, then wastes no time getting to the dirty, grungy, heavy-as-hell riff. The clanging ride cymbal in the chorus and bridge tells you just how crystal clear the production is, too. “I Am the Storm” picks up the pace, but it never leaves you wondering who is at the helm of this warship. The riff during the chorus is pummeling! “Surviving The Abyss” is my favorite here. It has a more somber tone, especially in Windstein’s vocals, and I find I like Crowbar best when you can actually feel the anguish in his voice. The title track is a mix of punk fury and good, old-fashioned New Orleans sludge. “The Enemy Beside You” really shows the punk influences of the band. It’s faster and fiercer, yet it still retains that trademark sludginess. “On Holy Ground” is still heavy, but it has more melody in the vocals and the reverb, echo effect is nothing but cool.
Crowbar aren’t breaking any molds or stretching the boundaries of metal with The Serpent Only Lies. But they have made a monstrously heavy album that is sure to appease older fans and lure some of the younger generation to their sludgy web.
The Serpent Only Lies comes out October 28 on eOne Music. Buy it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):