Review Summary: Barely surprising, somewhat repetitive, but ultimately: another worthy Crowbar release.
Going nearly 20 years strong, Kirk Windstein and his Crowbar are sludge metal veterans, one of those typically consistent bands that have carved their style and keep employing it in great fashion. It’s been exactly six years since their last record, Life’s Blood for the Downtrodden
, and fans’ expectations for Sever the Wicked Hand
will be high. The band’s ninth studio album may not be altogether worth the long release gap, but it certainly is a powerful, relentless dose of quality heavy metal.
Those familiar with Crowbar and their sound will hardly face any surprises on Sever the Wicked Hand
, which builds slowly over the course of its first three tracks and concludes in the same manner. Dense, brooding, heavy, and fittingly accompanied by a muddy production, the album is packed steadily with powerful riffs, which find perfect company in Windstein’s vocal presence, shouting his way through in an unforgiving manner. During the middle portion, from Let Me Mourn
onwards, things pick up considerably, in speed and in quality, with the band’s hardcore influences growing more apparent when The Cemetery Angels
comes around. The following songs enjoy some more creative, and also melodic input, but apart from the much-needed break A Farewell to Misery
, the repetition of the record is inevitable. This is of course a given in sludge metal, and barely mars the impact here. It does however prevent the record to become something more, something that goes beyond Crowbar’s usual level of quality.
It’s not as if the band need the album to be more than it is. The last thing their fans, or those of sludge metal in general will be, is displeased. With Sever the Wicked Hand
, Crowbar have created a good fifty minutes of pounding, downbeat, and ultimately powerful music that many a metalhead will be blasting into his ears with great pleasure, and perhaps that is really all there is to say about it.