REVIEW: CROWBAR – “The Serpent Only Lies”
Scrunch your eyebrows in, wear a frown on your face, put those metal horns up and brace for the sludge! Crowbar’s here with their 11th studio album ‘The Serpent Only Lies’, out on October 28th via Entertainment One. Crowbar frontman, the mighty Kirk Windstein mentioned in an interview in August that he intentionally went back and listened to a lot of old Crowbar stuff like the self titled and ‘Broken Glass’ albums, to get a feel for what his mindset was 20-plus years ago, as well as revisiting his influences like Trouble, Saint Vitus, Melvins, and the first Type O Negative record. A band going back to their roots is something that any fan loves to hear, but does Crowbar fulfill that promise, read on to find out.
The album opens up with “Falling While Rising” and in a typical Crowbar fashion, it jumps at you with a massive face melting doomy riff from the pits of hell. It soon settles down with a sludgy mid tempo gallop with a sinister tail, backed by Windstein’s abrasive screams. The track alternates between the slower intro and the faster mid-tempo riff, delivering a crushing wall of distortion before a melodic harmony gently guides this track to its culmination.
The guitar tone on this album sounds thicker and atmospheric than their previous efforts resulting in a sound that is massive and supremely heavy. On the production front, the band could not have sounded heavier without losing their characteristic sound. The band throws in melodic snippets in between the massive chugs that surprise the listener. “The Serpent Only Lies” is a great example, where the band breaks into a surprisingly clean melancholic chorus after a belligerent opening. It is undoubtedly one of the best tracks of the album with plenty of tempo changes that keep the listener hooked.
The band cranks up the doom after the title track with “Song of the Dunes” and “Surviving The Abyss”, perhaps two of the most emotional tracks of the album. The band creates a supremely epic and brooding ambience on both these tracks thanks to Windstein’s vocals that sounds like a monster in pain and the harmonies he creates teaming up with Mathew Brunson. The album does slow down in pace after “The Serpent Only Lies” but never loses the intensity even for a second. Tracks like “As I Heal” or “Surviving the Abyss” make you clench your fists and bob your head creating a powerful aura around you with its mighty riffage and intense presence. I totally agree with Windstein when he says that ‘The Serpent Only Lies’ is a fresh-sounding version of the old-school Crowbar. It has that familiar nucleus of sludgy riffs and doomy passages wrapped around by a thick nest of distortion, creating an intense ambience that will definitely take you back to the band’s classics but at the same time presents a louder version of their older avatar.
The album stands at a crisp 45 minutes in length with 10 tracks in total. It does take a few spins to really experience the nuances of the composition but at the end of it, you do feel satisfied with band’s performance. The production is perfect for the band’s sound, amplifying the heaviness of the riffage and creating a sound that is massive and crushing. Finally, Eliran Kantor’s immersive album art is like a cherry on top, depicting a massive serpent, seemingly providing solace to a man in despair, but also ready constrict him at any moment.
Crowbar have released a worthy successor of ‘Symmetry in Black’ in ‘The Serpent Only Lies’. Get mesmerized by the band’s heavy riffage and a supremely intense performance in this 11th attempt. The band revisits their roots and sound massive than ever in this latest release. Don’t miss it!