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Crowbar

Crowbar is a great example of what good, depressing sludgecore is supposed to be. I rarely listen to this genre, but I do enjoy this band. Crowbar uses extremely heavy guitars, tuning to A, and for those who arent music theorists, thats the lowest Ive ever heard of a band tuning a six string guitar. Crowbars songs are well written, catchy, and will take you to the darkest chasms of human sadness and despair. Its not just the music itself, it is the overall feeling and atmosphere created by Crowbar that makes them so heavy.

 

"Obedience Thru Suffering"

12 songs (51:30)

This is Crowbars first CD, originally released in 1992, but was rereleased in 1995 with two bonus tracks. This CD sounds like much of Crowbars other music, except it tends to be slower and there are less vocals, in one song, instead of singing a chorus they play a "chorus" on the guitar which I thought was cool and Ive always wished bands would do more of. The music on this album is more "sludgy" than any of Crowbars other stuff. The guitars are almost "growling" at parts, very monsterous and low, perhaps the most powerful guitar of any band I have heard. Kirks vocals are like any of Crowbars later music, and there is a little of an echo on many of the songs but overall the vocal content sounds the same. The bass is played well and has a very low and powerful thump sound to it. Lastly, the drums are well played with a sharp and yet "big" sound.

There are several good songs here, and a few sound [or at least to me] like some things on Odd Fellows Rest. Few would probably agree with me, but this CD and Odd Fellows Rest both are similar in the slowness and the songs are more depressing than later stuff which was faster and often more upbeat.

This CD isnt my favorite Crowbar album, and generally the songs are less memorable than their later stuff, but still there are many songs here I like and still listen to occasionally. I dont want to give the impression that this is a bad album, it is just not as well done as what they later released. I think that Waiting In Silence, A Breed Apart, My Four Walls and Feeding Fear are some of Crowbars best songs, certainly some of the best on the album. I Despise, Obedience Thru Suffering and Feeding Fear have fewer vocals than the others.

Like I said the music here is slower than much of Crowbars other music, and many of the songs like Obedience Thru Suffering and My Four Walls take a minute or so to "take up speed," whereas most of Crowbars songs [especially songs on "Time Heals Nothing" or "Broken Glass"] "start up" as soon as the song begins. The track, The Innocent is different for Crowbar, the lyrics are unlike any of their other stuff and it just sounds different, but still a good song. The two bonus tracks are live and are pretty cool, but the last song isnt a live version of Four Walls like it says on the CD, its actually Vacuum live.

Im sure a true Crowbar fan would enjoy all of this CD, but for everyone else just into doom metal or sludgecore this is a cool album but I would suggest starting with one of their later albums if you are new to the band.

7/10

 

"Time Heals Nothing"

10 songs (37:22)

I loved this album the second I put it in my CD player and to many doom metal/sludgecore fans this is their favorite Crowbar CD, and I can see why, just about everything here is great. All the songs are different, some are slow, dragging and depressing while others are rather fast and angry, but each one help to make this what might be Crowbars best album. The guitar on this CD is rather grainy, but smoother than on "Obedience Thru Suffering" but it is not as powerful as it was. The bass on this album can blend in with all the other instruments and get lost but everything goes together. If you doubt the bass playing on this album, listen to Time Heals Nothing and Numb Sensitive where it can be clearly heard, it has a thundering sound to it.

The songs No More Can We Crawl, Leave it Behind, Lack of Tolerance, Still I Reach, Embracing Emptiness, A Perpetual Need and Numb Sensitive are all good "Crowbar-sounding" songs. The tracks Time Heals Nothing and Through a Wall of Tears are slow with depressing lyrics dealing with loss, suicide and general hoplessness. Embracing Emptiness is different than most of Crowbars other music, there is actual singing on this one and to me this is the best song on the album. Also, the song Lack of Tolerance is much faster than Crowbar usually go, and a few people have told me this is their favorite Crowbar song, its definately more angry than most the other songs. While the album is rather catchy, it gets better after a few listens.

I never said this was my favorite Crowbar album, this CD and "Odd Fellows Rest" are both tied for being my favorite, I do not wish to choose. The riffs on this CD are what I like best, the guitar riffs on this CD are outstanding and powerful. The vocals in songs like No Tolerance and Embracing Emptiness go great with everything making for some great tracks. This is also probably the best place for someone to start that has never heard the band before.

8.5/10

 

"Broken Glass"

10 songs (38:11)

At first the songs on this album blended together, but after listening a few times I I came to like the album very much. The usual slow grinding guitar riffs are here, and the guitar sound is very full and grainy. The drums and percussion are as they always were for this band, but unlike on the last album, the bass refuses to be ignored. The bass can be heard clearly, very full and "vibrating." Beyond all this, the music is a little different than what I expected from Crowbar.

This album is different from any of Crowbars other music, the songs are all rather angry, some are faster and the music is less emotional than previous and later Crowbar. I have read good reviews and bad reviews of this CD [more good than bad], but to write my OWN Iíll try and forget those.

First off some of the songs such as Wrath of Time Be Judgement, Burn Your World and Above Below and Inbetween can really blend together pretty easily since they are all fast and have a much more attitude than I am used to hearing from Crowbar. As I said, much of the music here is less emotional than other Crowbar, the lyrics are more like "I will destroy you" and less like "All hope is lost." Songs like (Can't) Turn Away From the Dying, Nothing, I Am Forever and Reborn Thru Me sound similar to most other Crowbar, a little more angry but these are as good as anything else Crowbar has put out. Conquering, Broken Glass, Wrath of Time Be Judgment and You Know (I'll Live Again) sound totally pissed off, but these are still some good songs.

My favorite Crowbar song, Reborn Thru Me is the last song on this CD, it starts out slow then builds up to a great chorus and an incredible outro riff. The song Nothing is also a very well-written track, good lyrics and music, everything goes together great. Also theres a piano outro at the end that works nicely.

Put in simple terms "Broken Glass" is heavier musically but lighter emotionally. Overall a good CD, different from other Crowbar being faster and more aggressive than most other stuff. It is good to hear a band change their sound a little like Crowbar have here, instead of changing and just turning out awful like so many bands do.

7.5/10


Some Crowbar webpages and reviews on the web:

The Realm of Crowbar - This is Crowbars official site. Not a bad site, but it seems to get updated on average about 2 times a year...sad.
The Unofficial Crowbar Page - This is a good site, and is the only site out there with Crowbar tabs.
Crowbar - A little page with some quick Crowbar reviews and information.
CD Reviews - A review of Odd Fellows Rest.
CD Reviews - Another review of Odd Fellows Rest.
Crowbar - Yet another review of Odd Fellows Rest, but to see it you have to highlight the words because they blend in with the background.

 

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