Sever The Wicked Hand
14 February 2011
by Tom Dare
It’s a new Crowbar record. You know pretty much from the outset that the chances of this getting a slating are essentially nil – unless Kirk Windstein has decided to put out an experimental record that rejects the NOLA sludge riff-fests and adopts an uber-necro black metal meets commercial house style, it’s going to be good. The only question is the degree to which it rules – is it “just another Crowbar record” or has the bearded riff-lord written music that sticks its hand down your trousers and fondles you in a more-than-welcome manner?
The first three tracks are all perfectly entertaining sludgy goodness- it’s the kind of stuff you’re used to from these guys. Groove, impact and strut in large doses, and tasty riffage- it’s Windstein for crying out loud, the man’s incapable of writing substandard riffs. However thus far there is nothing too spectacular. It sounds like the initial rumblings of an oncoming storm, hinting at the truly spectacular but not yet breaking in its fullest might. The full majesty of the maelstrom is inevitable however – and when it arrives, it is pulverising.
With fourth track ‘Let Me Mourn’ the bar raises astronomically. Slow, crushingly heavy and despondent, the early contender for Riff Of The Year emerges, backed up by some superb vocal lines and enough sex to exhaust a nymphomaniac convention. The eyes fall closed, the head drops back and the horns involuntarily raise into the air in awe, such is the overwhelming might of the primal impact. The almost liquid flow is caressing, but like crashing surf arrives with huge force. This marks the point Sever The Wicked Hand stamps its mark in the catalogue of one of the great sludge acts.
In an age of front-loaded records that seem to fizzle out around track 5, this is quite the opposite. It kicks off well and then gets better. The pounding doom trip of ‘The Cemetary Angels’ is followed by the aggressive bombast of ‘As I Become One’ and the almost-acoustic dejection of ‘A Farewell To Misery’, completing a quartet of tracks that are a spectacular centrepiece to another great – not merely good – Crowbar record.
Hear the absolutely monstrous ‘Let Me Mourn’ here:
It may have taken six long years to arrive, but the bludgeoning weight of this superbly crafted slab of Southern groove and swaggering power is well worth the wait. By the time the double-punch of ending pair ‘Cleanse Me, Heal Me’ and ‘Symbiosis’ rage and stomp their way to the close, Sever The Wicked Hand is firmly ensconced as a triumph. The superb closers crown it off in a suitably thunderous fog to enter inebriation to.
If and when Down finally get around to releasing a new record, it will take something genuinely spectacular from to match this. But then again, with a rifflord like Windstein involved, don’t rule it out.
Sounds like: if you need us to tell you, go and listen to Crowbar right now
Top tracks: Let Me Mourn, The Cemetery Angels, A Farewell To Misery
Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand tracklisting:
Sever The Wicked Hand
Liquid Sky And Cold Black Earth
Let Me Mourn
The Cemetary Angels
As I Become One
A Farewell To Misery
Protectors Of The Shrine
I Only Deal In Truth
Echo An Eternity
Cleanse Me, Heal Me