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Crowbar's lengthy saga of blue collar misery enters it's third chapter with Time Heals Nothing. This isn't profoundly different than the self titled sophomore it follows, but it shows minor shifts in sound as well as continued quality in both riffs and songwriting. While not quite as good as that which came before, this is no dud marring Crowbar's discography. It shows more pronounced doom and hardcore sections, and Kirk occasionally flirting with a less aggressive vocal style. This sounds exactly how you'd expect a Crowbar record to sound, and that's not at all a abad thing.
Crowbar played a major hand in the dawning of sludge music, and on this release they trudge along continuing their classic mix of doom and hardcore. If you've heard the previous album, you pretty much know what to expect, although here there are a few minor departures from that sound. First off, this does feature a more accessible production. It comes short of sounding too clear, but this certainly isn't as grimy as it's predecessor. Also notable is sections where the doom is brought to the forefront, the band briefly eschewing their hardcore leanings. This is probably most notable on the title track, where Kirk goes for a cleaner and more melodic vocal approach. Although not quite as prominent, there are a few sections where the band erupts into some good ol' hardcore ass kicking.
The one biggest downside to this album is the songwriting isn't as consistently great as it was on the self titled. That album had anthem after anthem of pain and unrelenting fucking misery. While the subject matter continues the pattern, the songwriting isn't always as memorable. It's consistently good, but not as often great. However, there are powerful standouts such as "Time Heals Nothing", "A Perpetual Need", "Numb Sensitive" and the classic "Embracing Emptiness". "Numb Sensitive" features lots of bass and drum driven sections. This break from all consuming heaviness makes it all the more crushing once the fat guitar tone comes crashing in. The bass sections are more notably coming into their own on this release. The drumming is relatively simplistic in it's power, with frequent slow to mid-paced fills carving out a unique territory in the sonic landscape.
Time Heals Nothing feels like a somewhat cleaner version of the sophomore. Not like that is a horrible fate or anything. Continuing their journey into working class despair, Crowbar create a damn solid album; they would go on to make many. Crowbar has often been accused of never changing. This is not true, they just change at a glacial pace. This album is a testament to that. Time Heals Nothing is a small step in a slow burning evolution.
So I guess this is where Crowbar finally finds their niche. While Obedience Thru Suffering was just oppressively bleak with all sludge and no real variation, and the S/T improved upon their sound by varying the sludgy tempos (along with an amazing cover of Zep's No Quarter), Time Heals Nothing is one of Crowbar's best releases and where the band finally develops their self dubbed "doom-core" sound. Hardcore influences can be found here, but there's also a good bit of terribly HEAVY sludge. I believe Through A Wall of Tears to be one of the darkest songs ever written. However, unlike the last two albums, Time Heals Nothing breaks up the heavy sludge with some fast and energetic hardcore. The styles seem to meld perfectly on this album. Part of this perfect delivery can be attributed to Craig Nunenmacher, who delivers everything that each song calls for on this album in flawless form. It's a shame this would be his last album with Crowbar until 2005's Lifesblood.
Bottom line, this is one of Crowbar's defining albums, next to greats such as Odd Fellows Rest. Respect the gods of sludge.