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Who has the most crushing, depressing, angry lyrics out there, but Crowbar? They are one of the most intense bands to see live (I've seen them twice, and I want to see them a thousand times more) and they always do their best to bring the pain on their albums. I remember talking to a Pantera fan in seventh grade and him telling me about this band. I had remembered what a big impact that took on my metal world. It got me into both sludge metal and stoner doom (like electric wizard). I had not heard anything remotely close to these guys, but they were so great. They have been around for years, inspired bands to go heavier (Pantera, mostly), and have always shown the dark side of life to the metal community without having to be fast paced. Their new album, Sever the Wicked Hand is no exception.
The first thing I have to say is that this is Crowbar - don't expect anything too different. If you want that, go listen to Dream Theater. Now that I have that out of the way, this album is just a bit too redundant. For me it felt like one long mediocre song. I have never liked that in an album (unless the album itself is one long song - ref. Dopesmoker by Sleep, The Dwelling by Sabbat, Floods by Boris), so that kind of put me off from listening to this in a whole, but separately, this album is great.
The album follows a simple metal rhythm that makes the song drone out, but sound extremely harsh in the process. It's Crowbar's way of saying "Fuck you, I don't need speed metal to kick your ass". I really dig the sound, but at the same time, it can get dull and make me want to change the song. Unfortunately, that's why this album took me a few hours to listen to.
Vocally, the album is different. Kirk took more of a melodic turn, making the music fit together more as a symphony (not in the traditional aspect), and making the music less about being as polarizing and abrasive as it was in the past. I really did like the vocals, especially on Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth, where he was rarely doing his scratchy, gruff, low end vocals and doing more of this melodic side I haven't heard much from.
Overall, the album is extremely stereotypical. Especially for a fan, this album just sounds like another one in the bunch, but it's still great. I am really glad that Crowbar is still around, and I can't wait for the next album, even though it will probably be the same.