Although Crowbar has been Kirk Windstein’s main band for many years, he enjoyed considerably more success with Down and Kingdom Of Sorrow. Like many of his peers he suffered from alcohol abuse, but he managed to overcome his drinking habits. This is the main theme on Crowbar’s latest album, entitled Sever The Wicked Hand. Let’s see how severe and unforgiving this new record is.
Sever The Wicked Hand is a traditional Crowbar album filled with bluesy sluggish grooves, the occasional burst of speed en Kirk’s signature tormented vocal style. There’s a catch though, because this album sounds way more focused and fresh, certainly compared to 2005’s Lifesblood For The Downtrodden. Despite my initial enthusiasm for that album, I don’t play it too much nowadays.
Back to Sever The Wicked Hand then. This album has a lot of variation and combines the best elements of Broken Elements and Odd Fellows Rest, often considered to be the best work by Windstein and his ever revolving cast of musicians. There are some faster paced songs, like the title track, The Cemetary Angels, As I Become One and Protectors Of The Shrine, which are deeply rooted in hardcore. These songs combine nicely with the heavy groove laden anthems, like Isolation (Desperation), Liquid Sky And Cold Black Earth and Echo An Eternity. A Farewell To Misery is the album’s most haunting track, mainly driven by acoustic guitars and a piano. It has the same stark atmosphere as Pantera’s Suicide Note Part One and Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan.
Sever The Wicked Hand is blessed by a clear yet heavy production, which underpins the groove and sludge element of Crowbar. It also gives this album a nice dirty edge.
This album is Kirk Windstein’s most personal album to date. The music and lyrics are brutally honest and they reflect the scorching “take-no-prisoners” attitude of Crowbar’s earlier works. Perhaps with the recent interest in sludge metal this album may finally give Windstein and Co the recognition they so richly deserve.
written by Raymond Westland