Crowbar – Zero and Below (Album Review)

Release Date: March 04th 2022 - MNRK Heavy

Crowbar - Zero and Below

You may as well turn the treble right up on your stereo because the deep grind of the dropped tuned, gut-crunching sludge metal beasts, CROWBAR, are coming at you with their 12th studio album, ‘Zero and Below’.

Originating in the early 90s they were one of the bands to shape the sound of the sludge metal scene. And they still continue to do so today. The album was produced, mixed, and mastered by Duane Simoneaux at OCD Recording, Lousiana. Down, Exhorder, and Spacemetal are all enjoying the same services.

In another interview, Kirk said they chose to release the album only now despite it being ready 2 years before. With the pandemic on the go it was felt delaying the album might be better in everyone’s interest. Now, a fresh tour with Sepultura, Sacred Reich, and Art of Shock starts in March getting out to the crowds to support the release of their new album.

Until the album drops on March 4th via MNRK Heavy! you have the tantalizing track, “Chemical Godz”, to hold your attention and get you to fixate on the calendar.

Kirk is the only founding member of the band still present. He looks like he’d arrive at your house on a thunderous limited edition Harley dressed as Hell Angels incarnate and then with a hefty laugh he’d play tiddlywinks with the kids  He is metal and proudly decorates his body with tattoos of some of the greatest legendary bands to rock this planet like Motorhead, KISS, and Led Zeppelin.

Sporting an icy, funeral scene sporting the frozen fleur-de-lis that has been on every cover since ‘Lifesblood for the Downtrodden’ (2011). While not able to find out exactly why the fleur-de-lis is present as it carries many different symbolization, they are proud members of New Orleans whose native NFL team are the Saints who sport a similar symbol. While the chilling scene certainly provides a certain gravitas to the album, one cannot feel anything but pumped up when listening to the album. Try listening to the ‘It’s always worth the gain’ without headbanging.

“Chemical Godz” carries a range of harmonies within that deter a little from what they may usually put out. You can see why they put this out as the first single because it showcases rhythms that bounce like a hot rod in unison with punches in the air of a roaring crowd.

The album opens up with a powerful song, ‘The Fear the Binds you’, to get you right into the groove of the album. Incidentally, the group doesn’t like the term ‘sludge-metal’ but prefers the term ‘heavy music’. We are presented with that right from the get-go. “Reanimating the lie” slides here and there smoothly with gargantuan crunch chords in between. “Zero and Below” falls carries some melodies and harmonies that ease the album out into infinity.

This album is sonic butter to my toasty ears. It’s got a beastly vibe that has sludgy (sorry, Kirk) grooved-up riffs that carry the signature Crowbar sound. Dissecting every piece of album you’d probably come up with a few portions than overlay one another, but ff you are a fan of the album then you won’t go amiss with an album you’ll listen to repeatedly.

Tracklist:

  1. The Fear That Binds You
    2. Her Evil Is Sacred
    3. Confess To Nothing
    4. Chemical Godz
    5. Denial Of The Truth
    6. Bleeding From Every Hole
    7. It’s Always Worth The Gain
    8. Crush Negativity
    9. Reanimating A Lie
    10. Zero And Below

Crowbar: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: MNRK Heavy
Category: Album
Country: USA

Reviewed by Byron Lotz