Hardcore metal bands should show their feminine sides more often. Not that there's anything estrogen-driven about Crowbar's latest effort, but it's nice to see them tempering their macho force of will with a little healthy vulnerability. Goth fans will eat their Bauhaus records upon witnessing the dirge-anthem onslaught of the suitably nicked "Intro", vomitting shards of broken vinyl in despair of the funereal reckoning which is "Planets Collide". Following that, "...And Suffer As One" gets back to acceptable moshability levels, except there still seems something slightly subdued about the proceedings, a hesitant tease which brilliantly allows the band to progress from one song to the next by gradually dropping the pretense and eventually delivering full bore Sabbath worship to the h/c-weaned masses. It's also nice to hear Kirk Windstein actually singing, instead of delivering in a broken testicled grunt.
If there's one weakness (and there always is, but nobody's perfect) it's that the latter half of Odd Fellows Rest seems quite ordinary compared to the artistic acheivements documented on side one. The exception would be the "Scattered Pieces Lay", which disintegrates into an epic riff which seems to last forever, except that it's daydream inducing melody seems to warrant the eternity. The title track (almost) concludes this magnificent record with another gothic dirge, Kirk chanting his vocals from just over the distant horizon as arpeggiated strings deconstruct the chords which give them life in preparation for the end of it all. If Pink Floyd knew their way around a power chord it would probably sound something like this.
Odd Fellows Rest would have been an excellent note to have ended this album, but for some reason the straight-hardcore "On Frozen Ground" was inappropriately chosen as the last track. Not only does it disrupt the mood it's predecessors worked so gloriously to achieve, but it only lasts for about two minutes before lapsing into the same riff which closed "Scattered Pieces Lay". This should have either been sequenced earlier in the album or left off altogether. A minor gripe, and I doubt if you'll find any totally negative reviews, but when an album is up for all-time-classic status it doesn't help to ignore the blemishes.