Crowbar: Medieval Swamp Tones For Manic Depressives?
by Martin Popoff
Crowbar are certainly a well-respected New Orleans institution, creepy-crawling from the heat through ten years and seven albums on the scene, set to arrive here in the year of our Lord 2000 with a new record called Equilibrium, which along with '97's Odd Fellows Rest, ranks among the multi-dimensional best of the band's deliberate and doomy career.
Kirk is the king of Nola catharsis, pounding out tales of weakness and despair flamethrown into redemption through purifying power chords. Musically, the band has evolved from the original premise of anti-heroic "slow thrash" through more of a slow hardcore sound, into the current state, which is an interesting blend between the base sound and a "note-dense" form of doom, a la Cathedral, Candlemass or perhaps Chicago legends Trouble.
Kirk tends to agreement on the matter. "Trouble is a big influence on us, especially early on, and they are still definitely there for us. The new album's definitely got a heavy, dark, Gothic sound to it. But taking Trouble as an example, we definitely have a lot more aggressive songs. They had more doom and psychedelia. We toured with Cathedral and I'm a big fan. But they really weren't an influence because we started doing something similar to what they were doing at the same time. We just didn't know about them and they didn't know about us. We all just started the same time, doing the same sludgy, drop-tuned thing."
"It took me a little while at first to get into this record," Kirk muses. "I loved it then I hated it, and then I loved it again. I had a listen to it for the first time in awhile last night, and I'm really happy with it. There are now only about two or three songs anywhere on this that have any riffs that sound even close to hardcore. But the thing is, going back to the Obedience Through Suffering record, our first one, there is no hardcore whatsoever. It's all pretty much very heavily Trouble-influenced; Sabbath and Trouble. Then for awhile, for whatever reason, we did go a little bit in a hardcore direction. There's a really good Sabbath vibe to the new one again. I would say our riffs have more notes to them now. They are more riffed-up, if you want to put it that way. In the beginning, our stuff was intentionally simple. We were trying to go the opposite of all this technical thrash that was coming out."
Crowbar Update Page 2