Saturday, 24 May 2014

Crowbar - Symmetry In Black (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 26/5/2014
Label : Century Media

Symmetry in Black, track listing :
01. Walk With Knowledge Wisely (05:21)
02. Symmetry In White (04:08)
03. The Taste Of Dying (03:13)
04. Reflection Of Deceit (05:00)
05. Ageless Decay (03:40)
06. Amaranthine (02:47)
07. The Foreboding (04:13)
08. Shaman Of Belief (03:38)
09. Teach The Blind To See (03:42)
10. A Wealth Of Empathy (04:08)
11. Symbolic Suicide (04:22)
12. The Piety Of Self-Loathing (03:57)

The Band :

Kirk Windstein | guitar / vocals
Matt Brunson | guitar
Tommy Buckley | drums
Jeff Golden | bass

Review :

Crowbar need no introduction for anyone reading this, so... They return, three years on from Sever The Wicked Hand (a fine record) and with Kirk Windstein now fully focused on the band following his departure from Down. The album, therefore, needed to be a good one- this is now Kirk's full time employment and one would expect the record to reflect this in terms of quality. Believe me, it does. As a long time Crowbar listener, I would admit that some of their albums are more familiar and get more playing time than others. The self titled album, Lifesblood For The Downtrodden and Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form would be my favourites but, truthfully, they have never made a bad record and even their more average albums are much better than most bands' best.

First off, the sound is massive- drums batter out of the speakers with brutal intent as ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ crushes all in its path. Massive riffs, great vocal performance, this is exactly the type of thing Crowbar are known for. The quasi-title track (in white) takes things down a notch in parts but is still weighty and melancholy all at the same time.

‘The Taste of Dying’ is a lurching groove-fest of epic proportions and yet again you will realise what good songs Crowbar write- it sets them apart, it really does. Windstein has always professed a love for everything from Motorhead to much more mainstream 70's pop songs and that eclectic approach to listening pays off in his writing. ‘Refelection of Deceit’ is downbeat and maudlin prior to ‘Ageless Decay’ roaring out at hardcore pace- Broken Glass springs to mind- and exploding with rage and energy. The pacing drops for weight to drag the track along but then gloriously returns to faster tempos. ‘Amaranthine’ has a very nice clean intro- very Crowbar- as Kirk's vocals mistily seep from the mix. The track works really well as a half way point before ‘The Foreboding’ continues on the style with added dynamics. Superb stuff. Melancholy and slow, the band refuse to play just in one way and the diversity benefits the record.

‘Shaman of Belief’ boasts a large riff and more anger than the previous track- again ringing the changes- with the hooks strong and the dynamics sharp. ‘Teach The Blind To See’ is monumentally heavy and downtuned with riffs upon riffs. Note the fact that the album is well on the way to its conclusion and the quality is right up there...

‘A Wealth Of Empathy’ comes on slow and strong with that harmony aspect that Crowbar use (Thin Lizzy in full effect!). Introspective and mood shifting it showcases a lot of what Crowbar do best. ‘Symbolic Suicide’ is fast and Motorhead-ish in its approach, but of course it slows for the chorus to allow that beastly guitar sound to scrape out your ears. ‘The Piety Of Self-Loathing’ closes the show with a faded intro opening that allows the true weight of the production to be felt. A mood piece that kind of sounds like early Judas Priest slowed down and strung out, this vocal-less triumph is a fitting end to a very good record indeed.

Having listened to this album extensively over the last week, I know that it will be one of my most listened to albums both of the Crowbar canon and of this year. A classic band making classic albums- and heavier than you'll ever be!

Words by : Richard Maw

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