Release Review: Crowbar – Symmetry in Black

As one of the most influential sludge metal bands of all time, a new album from Crowbar was obviously going to be met with anticipation. It was also to be their first album after vocalist/guitarist and founding member (the only one left), Kirk Windstein, quit super-group Down to focus on Crowbar. Slightly before this though, Crowbar and Down’s bassist Pat Bruders quit Crowbar to focus more on Down. He was replaced by former Six Feet Under bassist Jeff Golden. With a line up change and new attitude towards Crowbar from Kirk, Symmetry in Black was clearly going to be an exciting album.

I am glad to report that Crowbar’s latest release is an outstanding sludge metal album and produces some of the best work present in their discography. The album has everything to love from a Crowbar album, beautiful grooves, godly riffs, breakdowns as heavy as convention of sumo wrestlers and Kirk’s iconic voice has never sounded better. Album opener ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ is quintessential Crowbar and contains everything we love about the New Orleans quartet. The end of the song breakdown resembles a heavy boot kicking a door down. One of the great pleasures of this album is how effortlessly the songs flow into each other – the songs all rank nicely next to each other.

The many different styles of Crowbar are present on this album too. ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ and ‘Ageless Decay’ contain the faster elements of their music, ‘Symmetry in White’ is a classic slower song, while ‘Amaranthine’ is a slow hauntingly beautiful track. There are also throwbacks to bands of old: ‘The Taste of Dying’ opens with a very Down-inspired riff, while ‘Symbolic Suicide’ features a bit of Motörhead-inspired drumming during a segment of the song. As with most albums, some songs are more memorable than others and this is the case on Symmetry in Black. However, it is still one of the best releases of the sludge genre this year, perhaps one of the best albums of the year altogether. Kirk and co certainly still have it, but was there any doubt that they lost it?

For a band celebrating their 25th anniversary, they’ve certainly given the best present to their fans. May they sludge on for another 25!

Best songs: ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’, ‘Symmetry in White’ and ‘Shaman of Belief.’

Crowbar - Symmetry in Black

01. Walk With Knowledge Wisely
02. Symmetry In White
03. The Taste Of Dying
04. Reflection Of Deceit
05. Ageless Decay
06. Amaranthine
07. The Foreboding
08. Shaman Of Belief
09. Teach The Blind To See
10. A Wealth Of Empathy
11. Symbolic Suicide
12. The Piety Of Self-Loathing

Crowbar Band Photo 2014

Crowbar are:
Kirk Windstein – Guitar and Vocals
Matt Brunson – Guitar
Tommy Buckley – Drums
Jeff Golden – Bass

More Crowbar:
Kirk’s Twitter

About Jack (820 Articles)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Essex in Colchester where by the luck of Odin I met the editor, Dom. I first got into metal when I was 13 and now I am 22 and own an uncountable amount of band T-shirts. I also regularly attend gigs (local and in neighbouring areas) as well as festivals. My musical taste is varied; I like nu metal (my first love), thrash, black, death, doom, folk, sludge (my favourite genre), symphonic and many more of the multiple genres that metal has to offer, I even like some metalcore (I know it's a dirty word within some metal circles but some of it is outstanding). One of my most memorable metal moments was meeting Grand Magus at the Bloodstock signing tent and having the whole tent to myself, spending a few minutes talking to them.

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