Crowbar
Crowbar


4.0
excellent

Review

by sickjesus USER (8 Reviews)
June 28th, 2007 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You think you know heavy?

Before I start this review, I have to say I’m amazed that such an awesome band wasn’t on the Sputnikmusic listing until I added them myself! Science H. Logic!

But I digress. At the time of this album’s 1993 release, Crowbar were:
Kirk Windstein – vocals/guitar
Matt Thomas – guitar
Todd Strange – bass
Craig Nunenmacher – drums

Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Crowbar were hugely influential in shaping the “sludge metal” sound for which their hometown has become renowned in heavy metal circles. Indeed, this tag is especially appropriate for the music made by Kirk Windstein and his colleagues: despite their self-titled album’s relatively short 35 minute duration, it is a dense, punishing experience, akin to wading through waist-deep sludge. In terms of heaviness, this tops pretty much everything else out there – imagine a more dynamic, radically slowed down take on the super-downtuned wall of noise from which bands such as Korn would later make their fortunes. Lyrically, Crowbar plough the same relentlessly miserable furrow as Jon Davis and co., but the plaintive rage behind Windstein’s primeval howl elevates lines such as “I gave my heart and soul to you my friend/you let me fall” (Existence is Punishment) above tiresome self-pity.

However, it is these two things – the inescapable heaviness of Crowbar’s sound, and Windstein’s semi-human bellow – which are both the band’s greatest assets as well as, potentially, their main weaknesses. While I personally love the non-stop aural ass-kicking which this album delivers every time I put it on, the lack of diversity on display here will deter metal fans who prefer the textures and varied approaches of bands such as Tool. Similarly, you will either love or hate Kirk’s voice. The raw brutality of his vocal delivery perfectly compliments the abrasive nature of the band’s music; however, he’s not exactly Jeff Buckley in terms of range or subtlety. The divisive nature of the band’s sound probably explains the limited appeal which Crowbar have consistently had throughout their almost twenty-year career, while contemporaries such as Corrosion of Conformity and Pantera have gone on to enjoy much greater success.

However, they deserve to be heard by anyone who professes to be a fan of heavy music. If you only listen to one album by this band, make sure it is this, their third, self-titled effort. Here is the perfect synthesis of their sound: a potent combination of rage and flat-out awesome tunes which they have never been able to better. Despite then-Pantera frontman (and Kirk’s childhood friend) Phil Anselmo’s slightly muddy production job on this album, the utter ferocity of hardcore-influenced cuts such as All I Had (I Gave) and Negative Pollution remains undiluted. The band’s more deliberate, riff-driven war of musical attrition, meanwhile, is perfectly exemplified by a monstrous retooling of Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter, the funereal Holding Nothing, and the ominous, bass-heavy steamroller of Existence is Punishment. Throughout, the riffs remain simple but, much like the tool from which the band takes its name, brutally effective. Windstein’s musings are rarely (if ever) what you would call insightful or transcendent, but, as encapsulated by the infuriated roar of “I HAVE MOTHERFUCKING FAILED” (I Have Failed) which signals the abrupt end of the record, the detectable anger and frustration in his voice lends gravity to even the tritest phrases which he spits out during these ten tracks.

Ultimately, this is a record, and a band, which will always be of limited appeal. Such is Crowbar’s unwavering commitment to heaviness above all else that, taken as a whole, the album resembles one half-hour long movement rather than ten separate songs. However, as subsequent attempts by the band to vary its sound (as on 2000’s Equilibrium) have shown, Crowbar’s music is at its most effective and immediate when the band concentrates on delivering simple, riff-based outbursts of sheer fury. This is a concise, angry masterpiece, and a seminal moment in sludge metal history. I advise you to give it a listen.



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user ratings (93)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
tribestros
June 28th 2007


918 Comments


Good review even though I've never even heard of the band.

MeowMeow
June 28th 2007


662 Comments


I had one of their albums, can't remember the name of it, but I know the cover had all their faces on it or something. I ended up deleting it because most bands like this tend to get old after about a week or so.

sickjesus
June 28th 2007


163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

like i said, you'll love it or hate it...or get bored of it after about a week or so. i'm the former.

204409
Emeritus
June 28th 2007


3996 Comments


I forget who it was in H/E but they described this band as so heavy that you gain weight listening to them. Heavier than Crowpath? Maybe. But probably not as brutal.

711
June 28th 2007


1341 Comments


I listened to part of one of their songs on myspace and it gave me a headache.

Fort23
June 28th 2007


2480 Comments


This is alright and the review is nice.

EyesWideShut
June 29th 2007


3210 Comments


I love Down but dont really like crowbar that much..

Unreal
June 29th 2007


229 Comments


Yeah Down Pwn, but these guys dont really cut it IMO

Wizard
June 30th 2007


19644 Comments


Nice review. I found these guys a little dull, but their low end is soooooooooooooooooo heavy.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

sjbruno
May 31st 2009


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really dont care what you say , CROBAR KICKS ASS!!!! Overall good review.

SteelErectedb4you8er
December 17th 2009


2618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Crowbar is definitely a band that you get into or you don't. There really is no in between, but there riffs are so heavy and kirk's voice is so powerful. This is the first album I heard by them, and "High Rate Extinction," "All I (I Gave)," and "I Have Failed" are extremely heavy and meaningful songs. Their cover of "No Quarter" is monstrous too.

Bouledogue
June 12th 2010


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

None heavier!

KILL
March 23rd 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so good

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

accompliceofmydeath
April 18th 2011


4302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck, this is heavy.

Digging: Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning

KILL
April 25th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

more manly than pantera

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2011


16137 Comments


Bomb as shit.

KILL
May 8th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man existence is punishment is classic

Inveigh
February 11th 2012


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is probably a top 3 crowbar album for me

everything up through odd fellows rest is so close

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

KILL
February 11th 2012


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

obedience is right up there with this i think

Inveigh
February 11th 2012


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea and broken glass too



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