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Crowbar: Zero And Below

New Orleans, Louisiana sludge metal pioneers Crowbar released their latest album, Zero And Below, in March.

Any band that has been around for over 20 years and has a dozen albums to its name deserves a great deal of respect so its no surprise that Kirk Windstein and Co are a revered band, especially in Stoner/Doom/Sludge circles. Their reputation as a super heavy act precedes them, and subsequently there’s no need for me to overdo this review.

If you know the name Crowbar you’ll know what the album has instore for you. It’s not all slow-paced crushing riffs though; within the confines of Sludge metal there is some welcome variation on the release; there are up-tempo tracks and slower dirges-switching seamlessly between post-Motorhead and post-Sabbath vibes, keeping the listener engaged throughout.

All of the Crowbar hallmarks are on show on this album; there’s no shortage of heavy, sludgey riffs and Kirk’s gruff vocals carry significant emotional weight. This isn’t an album that will only appeal to riff fiends and people going through hard times though (although if you have a penchant for a good slow riff, you’re likely to love the album); the 10 tracks on the album are all well composed songs, with memorable vocal lines and some astute melodic sensibility when the song calls for it too. Its cliché and perhaps a symptom of ‘new album syndrome’, but I’d have no hesitation putting Zero And Below in the top tier of Crowbar albums. No doubt a pack leader for Stoner/Sludge albums released this year.

Track Listing
1. Crowbar - The Fear That Binds You
2. Crowbar - Her Evil Is Sacred
3. Crowbar - Confess To Nothing
4. Crowbar - Chemical Godz
5. Crowbar - Denial Of The Truth
6. Crowbar - Bleeding From Every Hole
7. Crowbar - It's Always Worth The Gain
8. Crowbar - Crush Negativity
9. Crowbar - Reanimating A Lie
10. Crowbar - Zero And Below

Added: June 14th 2022
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 549
Language: english

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Crowbar: Zero And Below
Posted by Brandon Miles, SoT Staff Writer on 2022-06-14 19:39:11
My Score:

Creeping and lumbering like a gigantic slimy aberration, Crowbar's latest album Zero And Below is yet another sludgy and doomy release from the veteran Louisianan act. Band leader and sole founding member Kirk Windstein has been around for quite a while, and it's somewhat debatable if he's better known as a member of supergroup Down, but before the critically acclaimed NOLA saw the light of day, Crowbar were already bringing their hefty, dense sludge metal brew to the scene. While not reinventing the wheel, Zero and Below isn't without its moments.

While it's predictably a lumbering and trudging release for the most part, Zero and Below does have a few tracks that break the mold and move at a semi-brisk pace. Album opener The Fear that Binds You is a stomper in particular, with its stompy riffs and Windstein's gruff and Lemmy-esque snarl leading the album off in fine fashion. The band's a lot more interesting to these ears when they keep the pace brisk (by their standards at least), and all the better when it includes those Down-ish southern metal tinges like on Chemical Godz. Tracks like these break up the monotony a bit, as variety isn't exactly the band's biggest strength. Heavy, dense, and thunderous riffs are the band's soup du-jour, and die-hards will certainly not be left wanting in that regard.

At just under 45 minutes, Zero and Below doesn't overstay its welcome. It's undeniably a well crafted record and one that will please fans of the genre. For me, I'd like to see more variety but that's never been what this band does. Crowbar play music that crawls its way out of the swamp and drags itself messily around until it eventually collapses under its own weight and expires. That's largely what this album accomplishes and I'm sure that's what Kirk and the boys were going for.

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