Crowbar’s Sever the Wicked Hand was an awesome album, one of my top albums of 2011. And despite an unfortunate head-kicking incident at MDF, I was still pretty psyched to hear what the band would come up with the next time around. No boycott here—let’s just say I’m hoping this album delivers a solid blow to a much lower part of the body.
“Walk with Knowledge Wisely” comes oozing out of the gate like a downtuned Down number, complete with southern sludge grooves, Kirk’s hardcore carney barks crying out overhead. My head is definitely nodding along to this one. “Symmetry in White” delivers a classic Windstein riff from the get-go, though this one’s more mellow, lower-level vocals on the verses before a churning chorus kicks things up a notch. “The Taste of Dying” has shades of Pantera in its rolling groove-metal attack, but its chorus is classic Crowbar. And man, “Reflection of Deceit” is right up there with the best of the slow jams from its predecessor. For all I know, it mighta spawned from the same sessions…
“Ageless Deceit” speeds things up considerably, combining the thrashy hardcore from some of their earlier albums with the bro-core breakdowns of Kirk’s side-project Kingdom of Sorrow. But then it’s back to the ballads, “Amaranthine” slow, sparse and soul-stirring—not the sorta stuff you’d stage-dive to. So when aptly-named “The Foreboding” kicks in with its heavy, plodding basslines and downright doomy riffage, it simply crushes skulls.
“Shaman of Belief” is another classic Crowbar number, all slow ‘n mournful ‘n shit, before it picks up the pace, albeit briefly, with an old-school hardcore beat. “Teach the Blind to See” is a return to groove-metal, but with some deadly stop-start riffs that’ll stop moshers dead in their tracks. “A Wealth of Empathy” goes back to the Windstein well of mournful riffs, pulling out some semi-trad-metal guitar lines that’ll bring a single tear to your eye. And while it’s dedicated to Peter Steele, “Symbolic Suicide” is almost more Carnivore than Type O Negative in its verses, though it culminates in another slow ‘n heavy chorus that Crowbar does so well. And man, the doomy change of pace just past the three-minute mark really packs a wallop!
Make no mistake, this is another quality Crowbar record. Forget about kicking heads—Symmetry in Black kicks ass!