Review Summary: Crowbar and Kirk are one, an entity they've become, as a legend it shall live.
It is known know that Crowbar is not that groundbreaking anymore but still manage to put out a refreshing and mature album to the take. Kirk Windstein is Crowbar and vice-versa, it is his outer ego, reflecting throughout all releases Kirk's stages in life such as alcohol abuse, failed marriage, depression etc. Symmetry in Black is his conformity,redempition and acceptance with all he's been through to where he's at now having found his own symmetry.
This album is mid-paced, heavy, dark, groovy, melodic and above all relentless. As on previous efforts riffs and drums act as a monolithic force. Buckley's (Soilent Green) delivered what Kirk desired, a steady, ongoing conscious blast. It is noticeable the freedom Kirk gave him to pump up a bit, the double-bass was not part of Crowbar's syle until Buckley's appearance on Server the Wicked Hand. Newcomer for the bass, Jeff Golden, does a great job keeping those riffs alive and breathing, but we still feel that the bass should've had little bit more of a presence. After all, bass always was a importance piece of Crowbar's crunchy sound ie. Existence is Punishment, Nertheless Kirk, never fails to deliver fresh riffs to the table. It is impressive the quantity of blues scales variotions, Robert Johson would be proud of another accomplished pupille. Brunson's duty is simple, keep track with Kirk along the savage riffing that goes on this record.
Lyric-wise the album represents Kirk throwing away the nails for his coffin, same coffin he was really close during mid 2000's with years of alcohol abuse, relationship problems along with depression related problems and rehab. It seems that all of his harsh times have been washed away as the lyrics highlight it on tracks such as Wealth of Empathy and Teach the Blind to See.
Album's production is top notch, all instruments are beautifully equalized, there's large room for guitar as they were on previous efforts, except for Lifesblood. Guitars do not have a suficient depth and reach comparable to its previous albums, wich can be a let down for more demanding ears. Drums are heavily triggered since Server the Wicked Hand, that must be some of Buckley's negative influences on Crowbar. Crowbar's drums were always raw, crude and vivid, somewhat used to shine throughout the record ie. Sonic Excess in its Purest Form and Odd Fellows Rest. Perhaps it's a way Kirk found to "democratize" Crowbar,allowing each member to contribute somewhat equally on the producion of the album, what is truly remarkable since there had been several inconsistencies with its lineup before 2011.
Being all that said, this album can be highly regarded as a new beggining for Kirk and his new crew, a page turner in Crowbar's long history. Hope is what this album was meant to symbolize, a versatile lineup mixing veterans and newcomers injeting new blood to Crowbar. A very consistent album with Crowbar's old recipe for sucess, inventive without losing its majesty.That's Crowbar, that's Kirk.
Stand Out Tracks:
Walk With Knowledge Wisely
Shaman of Belief
Symmetry in White
A Wealth of Empathy