The king of Louisiana sludge Kirk Windstein returns with Symmetry in Black, the first Crowbar release since his departure from NOLA supergroup Down.
With Kirk leaving Down to focus full time on his main project once again, it’s fair to say that long time fans are expecting something particularly special from Crowbar this time around. And they will not be disappointed.
The mighty Crowbar were once lovingly described by Beavis And Butthead as being “workout music for fat people,” and having been a fan for many years now, I still cant think of a better description of Crowbar’s sound. It’s crushingly heavy and very oppressive on your senses, but also has a strange and very strong sense of empowerment that cuts through the misery of its content.
This formula has never been more perfectly represented than on Symmetry In Black. If you are familiar with Crowbar’s output then as always you will know exactly what to expect here, it has all the immeasurable depth, enormous pummeling riffs and crushing lyrical sorrow of any classic Crowbar release, but never before has it all sounded so refined.
This is Kirk writing and performing at a level of perfection that could only ever be achieved through the years of experience that he has under his belt. Everything here is a perfect representation of everything Crowbar stands for, and is all extremely well considered and masterfully crafted. At times this really does almost sound like a greatest hits album (in the best possible way) drawing comparison to every classic song of the bands career in one way or another but still keeping its own identity.
Where as many Crowbar albums sound like a collection of songs rather than an album at times, this release achieves a balanced flow of songs throughout its run time that they have never quite achieved before and that instantly makes it more accessible as an album than the previous efforts which again points to Kirk having a great understanding of what he wanted to achieve here, and he has certainly succeeded.
Also worth noting is the production on this album, it is the finest overall sound the band has achieved, with everything nicely polished but leaving just enough of a rough edge that the riffs and vocals still have some bite to them.
With all the positive remarks about the quality of this album, when all is said and done this is still very much a Crowbar album, there are no surprises here, and if you were not a fan of their previous efforts then there is nothing here that will change your mind. But if you are a fan then you will be treated to the most focused album the band has possibly ever done, and it certainly ranks among the band’s best albums in my eyes.
Crowbar is and always has been a pure musical representation of perseverance, determination and redemption in the shadow of great personal suffering and grief, both musically and lyrically.
Although the immediate sound may appear to be a expression of misery, its true message is that you should embrace the pain of life and learn from it, to be reborn as a stronger and wiser individual. That message has never been more clearly or powerfully delivered than on this album.