Crowbar return after a nearly six-year break since 2016’s The Serpent Only Lies to bring us their 12th studio album Zero And Below. Gone is classic era bassist Todd Strange, who left in 2018 after resurfacing on their last studio album.
Enter Shane Wesley (Riffer Madness), otherwise this is the same unit since 2009. Kirk Windstein’s crew is well known for his riffs as well as his unique vocal style, allowing Crowbar to be one of the most instantly recognizable bands that the sludge metal scene has ever produced.
Classic Crowbar is present on tracks like “Her Evil Is Sacred,” complete with pained vocals and doomy, downtuned passages that serve as a reminder of the band’s remarkable level of consistency, something that remains as a hallmark of the band’s longstanding career. The drums break up the slowed sections that prominently feature Windstein’s vocals, before launching into an excellent groove, played at a superbly slow pace.
“Chemical Godz” touches more on the emotive side of Windstein’s vocal delivery backed by his and Matt Brunson’s riffs to push the song through passages steeped in varying riffs that both gallop and soar into the great beyond.
Crowbar have been referred to as one of the most consistent bands in the entirety of metal and Zero And Below is no exception. If you want a great sludge metal album every four or five years and are willing to wait for it, Crowbar rarely disappoint.
These renowned riff practitioners do a lot with a tried and true formula surprising very few longtime fans who know exactly what to expect on a new Crowbar record. For the unencumbered, let it be said as simply as this: Crowbar are one of the heaviest and grooviest bands to have ever slithered from the bayous of the New Orleans sludge metal scene.
(released March 4, 2022 on MNRK Heavy)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Crowbar – “Chemical Godz” Video