Review Summary: Solid, if at times overly repetitive, Crowbar's latest should please fans of their older material.
Six years have passed since the last release from American sludge metal pioneers Crowbar. The group have created some landmark records in their time, but the big question is: does their latest, "Sever the Wicked Hand
," live up to its predecessors? The answer to that would be yes and no.
Instrumentally the band, when given a chance to flaunt their skills, are actually quite good. "I Only Deal In Truth" features an impressive drumbeat three-quarters of the way through, along with a masterfully executed guitar harmony, and the beginning of "Cleanse Me, Heal Me" has a cool syncopated beat behind a murky, hebetudinous melody, the type of which is typical for this album. There is no shortage of good riffs on this record, with the title track and closer "Symbiosis" being a couple of prime examples. The bass stays in the background for most of the album, sticking to the root notes, and the production is low and muddy, which works for this style of music.
The problem with "Sever the Wicked Hand
" is that it can be very dull to listen to at points. All of the songs sound relatively similar, with mid-tempo drumming, downtuned guitar riffs, and yelling vocals. I understand that repetition is a sludge metal standard, but many parts of the record are just overly so. The boring chugging breakdown on "The Cemetery Angels" is one of the most drastic examples of this, taking up the last minute and forty seconds of the song for no good reason and long overstaying its welcome. It's sections like these that make the record a chore to listen to in full.
"Sever the Wicked Hand
" should please fans of Crowbar's older material; on it, they don't do anything drastically different from what they have before. The production has improved, but the songwriting is pretty much the same as it has always been. In short, Crowbar isn't going to win any new fans with "Sever the Wicked Hand
," but they will most definitely appease the old ones.