Sonic Excess in its Purest Form
Color me rejected and retarded, but I’ve never quite invested much time and effort into Crowbar as is probably warranted or necessary • and that’s not for lack of trying, either. I mean, they’re hard-working, they’re persevering, and goshdarnit, they’ve managed to locate an identifiable sound early on yet push it forward ever so slightly with each impending record, but there’s always been that “something” that’s eluded me in regards to Crowbar and, hence, how they’ve conspicuously eluded my record collection. However, if there’s one • and only one • Crowbar record to latch onto, it’s their latest Sonic Excess in its Purest Form. Making good on the overtly melodic underpinnings of last year’s Equilibrium, the misleadingly titled Sonic Excess in its Purest Form finds the four-piece remaining HEAVY • heavier than fuck all, even • in their sludge-metal aesthetic while imbuing the proceedings with an emotionalism rarely this harnessed nor uncharted. Take one listen to the aching “Thru the Ashes (I’ve Watched You Burn),” with heartache and bitterness bellowing forth from guitarist Kirk Windstein’s windpipe, and you’ll know what I mean: catharsis clear and cutting, and no shortage of shredded decibels, at that, in sight despite the sluggish, slovenly speeds the band characteristically moves at. Elsewhere, it’s business at usual • but, again, with a cathartic undercurrent and melodic miserablism that threatens to move all and sundry well beyond the bounds of sludge. And, for perhaps the first time in their decade-long duration, Crowbar step outside the boundaries of sludge and bravely take their largest steps, all for the better by most accounts. Hey, wudda y’know, they even get a respectable-looking cover/layout here, evoking visions of both their doom bombast and sweaty Southern roots better than anything imaginable (except maybe for a gargantuan, billowing barbecue pit flanked by a flock of vultures•or something). Speaking of which, there’s no forgiving, though, the shirtless shot of the band, weighing in well over 1000 pounds, strategically situated on the inside of the album’s liner notes. Whew. Someone should be fired for that one, and for all those no-budget covers that came before, but I digress• If there was ever a moment or opportunity to call myself a “fan” of Crowbar • lest I should look like the sympathizing critic • Sonic Excess in its Purest Form would be it.