Crowbar’s heavy sludge from the Big Easy is iconic; existing for nearly 25 years and not changing the music too much in the process. However, their lineup has been unstable recently. Hopefully the addition of original bassist Todd Strange, who hasn’t been heard with the band since 2000’s Equilibrium, helps to solidify it for the near future.
The music on The Serpent Only Lies is as heavy and painful as ever. Windstein masterfully balances his enormous riffs with pained and croaked vocals. Album opener “Falling While Rising” is a perfect song to introduce someone to sludge: the tempo is slow, the riffs are slow and Windstein sounds like he has been through hell.
“I Am The Storm” clocks in under three minutes, but the riffs contained therein are just as powerful as any other on the album. The riffs chug along and you find yourself bobbing your head along to the beat. The album’s title track is a mix of fast and slowed down sections, with the speedier sections acting more as a bridge to the pain and suffering, perhaps as if to stress the point that the good times are fast and fleeting and that life is pain.
Crowbar are some of the founding fathers of sludge. The genre may not be for everyone, but what is found within sludge in general and this album in particular is a bunch of tortured souls who want nothing more than to show their emotion in sonic excess.
This might be the best album that the trio have been released in the last five years (Sever The Wicked Hand and Symmetry In Black were their previous two full-lengths) and one of the best albums Crowbar have released to date. Musically it falls somewhere between Crowbar and Time Heals Nothing. No stone is left unturned and Crowbar just play the sludge they were born to play and suffer through.
(released October 28, 2016 on eOne Music)