It says so much about Crowbar that this far into their career they are still releasing quality sludge metal that never strays too far from their roots. Often overlooked because of founder & frontman Kirk Windstein’s time in supergroup Down, they’ve built up a hardcore following over their lengthy career.
The Serpent Only Lies is Crowbar’s 11th studio album & sees them looking to capture the sound & spirit of their early work. For the most part that comes across but you can also draw comparisons to much of their later sound too. The sludgy sound that you’ve come to expect from Crowbar is present throughout the ten tracks. Distorted sounds, shifts in tempos, dirty riffs, pulse-pounding beats…it’s all present here but with an added rawness in some of the vocals mostly noticeable on Plasmic & Pure, one of the best songs on the album.
The album is weighted in riffs made of gold, grimy gold that sounds like it’s been pulled from the darkest & deepest swamp. Falling While Rising, Surviving the Abyss, The Enemy Beside You…there are no bad songs throughout but it can suffer from repetition.
That’s why the change of pace that comes from I Am the Storm is really welcome. It gives it real bite while Embrace the Light has some top drum beats. It’s an album that is all about highlighting the guitars & drums but it’s Windstein’s vocals that excite the most. Angry, aggressive but with lyrics that have an air of honesty about them.
There are moments that don’t quite hit the highs found elsewhere. The song, The Serpent Only Lies has a slower kind of ‘chorus’ bit that is pretty bland sounding however the rest of the track, dripping in thick sludge, is great!
Variations to that sound comes from the tracks On Holy Ground & Song of the Dunes, both fantastic songs. The latter in particular has really slow tempo but refreshes the album just as it’s reaching its end.
It’s a great Crowbar album, not the best of their career but up there. It’s just a little bit too repetitive at times.
Full Track Listing:
1. Falling While Rising
2. Plasmic and Pure
3. I Am the Storm
4. Surviving the Abyss
5. The Serpent Only Lies
6. The Enemy Beside You
7. Embrace the Light
8. On Holy Ground
9. Song of the Dunes
10. As I Heal
Crowbar - Only the Serpent Lies (eOne Heavy)
The Final Score - 8/10
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