The legendary band that is CROWBAR has hit a huge milestone with their tenth studio album Symmetry in Black out now on eOne Music. Recently, the band was featured on the Maryland Deathfest line-up which also featured acts such as AT THE GATES. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to review this album because I remembered liking the grooves and rock n’ roll sound that I heard when I saw them play at Stillborn Festival years ago in Philadelphia, PA. Before that show, I hadn’t been exposed to CROWBAR, but they made their impression on me enough to remember them years later and still want to listen to their music. So let’s dive right into what I thought of Symmetry in Black, shall we?
For what is classified as a sludge metal band, I thought that Symmetry in Black offered more of a concentrated mix between rock n’ roll and hardcore sounds. I enjoyed that because it is another step out of my comfort zone of the genres I am used to. In some portions of their music, CROWBAR offers moments where there are sludgy transitions, but it seems that this time around there may be a step in a new direction for their musical sound. Kirk Windstein on vocals offers a signature rock n’ roll sound with his singing and a touch of the hardcore yelling. He offers a medium between the two that makes the band marketable to fans of both of those genres, which is one reason why CROWBAR is successfully making music after twenty-five years. This is proven right off the bat with the first track of the album, titled “Walk With Knowledge Wisely.”
As far as the music is concerned, the tempo is not too slow, but still not fast, which fits the specific sound that CROWBAR is concerned with. Both Kirk Windstein and Matt Brunson mesh very well when creating a distinct sound that stays consistent, all while Windstein’s vocal pattern keep it simple with the rhythm of the music being played. Also, former THY WILL BE DONE bassist, Jeff Golden keeps a good pace and groove with drummer Tommy Buckley, who keeps things simple and clean throughout the album. For further proof look no further than “Symmetry in White”and “The Taste of Dying.” Simple, but infinite grooves are to be found in those songs, you have my word.
While the music stays consistent, that is also one of my gripes. I appreciate albums much more when there is a wide range of sound on display, which really puts the musicianship on display. There is no denying that this four-piece has found a sound that works for them and that they can master that sound in various ways, but for me it just was not enough change throughout the album. I kept wanting something new, but I expected the songs to sound mostly the same.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Walk With Knowledge Wisely”, “Symmetry in White”, “The Taste of Dying”, “The Foreboding”, “Shaman of Belief”
WRITTEN BY MR. REESE