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This is pretty much how you'd expect early Crowbar to sound live. They sound completely unrelenting in their particular brand of misery. True to the album's titled this EP features a handful of live songs plus one studio track. The live songs are pulled exclusively from their self titled sophomore. As one might expect, the production is not as high as on the album, but is a bit better than the debut. The live track, "Numb Sensitive" would go on to be rerecorded for the next album.
They pick their tracks wisely - only using the best from their second album. The only way the track list could be improved would be if they added their stripped down cover of the Led Zeppelin classic "No Quarter". The production is pretty good, not as good as the recording quality of the album, but still quite good for a band with such abrasive leanings. The songs don't really sound that different than they do on the record except a bit more raw. Kirk sounds as powerful as ever, bellowing out his gospel of anguish. All he had he gave (sorry) and it certainly shows. You can tell the strain he is putting on his voice when he addresses the crowd in between songs. Particularly successful are the anthems of hard times "I Have Failed" and "All I Had (I gave)".
A studio song "Numb Sensitive" is tacked on the end. While looking back this doesn't seem entirely necessary, it still is a cool track. It definitely feels like something that could have made onto the self titled. It has some nice sludgy grooves, a powerful rough guitar tone and Kirk's trademark aggressive bellows. While it is a highly enjoyable track, the rerecording for the next album is flat out superior. The production on that version is much better, and the fact that bass and drums are the only instruments for a good portion of the track make the guitar feel that much heavier when it comes in.
While this is a cool little EP, the way they present the tracks is more or less identical to the album and the studio versions where done a bit better. However, it is really cool to see the rawness and passion of their live performance. Actually being there would be one hell of a powerful experience. I can't really recommend this to a more casual Crowbar listener, but a more dedicated fan will find this thoroughly interesting. Again, I cannot understate how cool it would have been to actually be there.
This essentially proves my hypothesis that Crowbar sounds EXACTLY how you would expect them to live. In short: heavier, rawer, and more angry and depressed than ever. This fairly unknown EP (re-released just this year, though mine's the 1994 Pavement edition) features five live tracks culled from the self-titled album, plus 'Numb Sensitive' which would be featured on 'Time Heals Nothing' a year later. The material here is the only officially released live material that Crowbar ever turned out until their 2007 DVD, so it stands out as a strange quirk in the band's discography.
The live set is very strong, and, as stated previously, pretty much what you would expect from Crowbar. These early tracks showcase Crowbar's more hardcore-influenced side, with faster, rawer tracks than one mostly familiar with the band's later works might know. The smoky, club-like production with resonant guitars and guttural, strained vocals give a great deal of intimacy to the EP, and I'd say that this is probably the perfect way to hear early Crowbar: raw, savage, and uncensored. Standout tracks definitely include stirring renditions of 'Self Inflicted' and 'All I Had (I Gave)', even stronger than their already powerful studio counterparts. The lone studio track, 'Numb Sensitive', is quite good, but most certainly rather tacked-on and unnecessary to the meat of the content here.
This brief EP is a very cool look at early Crowbar. While it's certainly not the most mandatory entry in the band's lengthy catalog, it's great for the dedicated fan who hasn't had the opportunity to see the band live. A great listen that doesn't overstay its welcome.