CD Review: Crowbar – Symmetry in Black

CD Review: Crowbar – Symmetry in Black
eOne Music
All Access Rating: A-

Crowbar - Symmetry in Black 2014
There's a stirring in the sludge. Three years dormant, following 2011's crunching return to form Sever the Wicked Hand, Crowbar, bloodied but unbowed, has surfaced from metal's filthy, oily muck to binge on the thickest, most engorged riffs possible and purge the eOne Music release Symmetry in Black, their 10th album.

And while it's unmistakably Crowbar, there's surprising diversity here, as well as a sonic richness that has the texture and feel of black velvet soaked in tar. Every move is deliberate on the sludge-metal juggernaut that is the well-designed Symmetry in Black, with its complex, slowly evolving grooves and subtle tempo changes, as well as expertly wound ropes of twin guitar. Symmetry in Black surges and churns with intensity of purpose and unimaginable power, the crawling brutality of "The Foreboding," the crushing weight of "Reflection of Deceit" and the building tsunami that is "A Wealth of Empathy" seemingly capable of flattening whole cities.

Deceptively intricate and relentlessly heavy, "Walk With Knowledge Wisely," "Shaman of Belief" and "Teach the Blind to See" – the incisive and evocative lyrics plumbing the depths of the human psyche – creep around aural dungeons, as a tortured, roaring Kirk Windstein tears his larynx to shreds, until Crowbar springs an ambush, racing ahead with trash-like rage, unleashing monstrous rogue waves of guitars or taking slight detours that almost reluctantly reveal themselves. 

On occasion, Crowbar turns expansive and melodic, drifting into celestial territory with the lonely and dreamy, yet still dark and unsettling, "Amaranthine," but they cannot contain their larynx-shredding rage, and it finds purchase in the blistering thrash-metal of "Ageless Decay." Windstein and his sinister henchmen Matthew Brunson (guitar), Tommy Buckley (drums) and Jeff Golden (bass) walk confidently through the shadow of death and embrace evil, lowdown tunings like an old friend, still worshiping at the altar of Black Sabbath but changing their incantations and exploring other aspects of their heritage. Black is their color.
– Peter Lindblad

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