Released: February 8, 2011
Let’s get it out there right up front: If New Orleans doom, gloom and sludge gets your dick hard, then Sever The Wicked Hand is like viagra for your ears. Six long years have passed since Crowbar released 2005’s Life For The Downtrodden, an album that was still quite good, but not nearly as strong as those that came before it, or this new masterpiece.
Sever The Wicked Hand is the band’s first for their new label eOne Music. The CD is also the first Crowbar record that finds vocalist/guitarist/founder Kirk Windstein sober. Perhaps for this reason, Sever seems somehow fresher, more urgent, yet still mired in primal filth and doomy riffage. And the riff is at the crux of everything Windstein does, whether if be Crowbar or his other bands Kingdom of Sorrow and Down.
While Sever The Wicked Hand is not necessarily a “concept” album, one gets the sense that a common thread runs through the album’s dozen tracks. In a sense Windstein is reborn here, and he opens a proverbial vein and bleeds his soul into these songs. We are all, every single one of us, addicted to something, and that is the wicked hand that betrays us all.
As one might expect from any Windstein project, this one is ripe with ghastly riffage, and Crowbar waste no time in bringing the blackened onslaught to your door on the album opener “Isolation (Desperation)”. The title track is an equally crushing groove-laden beast, and Kirk’s vocals sound better than ever.
“Liquid Sky And Cold Black Earth” is a another groove-dirge that carves into your soul. This one is dripping with aural despondency. By the time this track ends you’re into a pretty good rhythm, but that’s when Windstein and company take the record to the next level.
“Let Me Mourn” has a riff so inspired you might get a cerebral hemorrhage simply listening to it. The Black Sabbathesque vibe collides with a grungy almost Alice In Chains sound. Kirk’s voice is imbued with anguish.
This is followed by two of the album’s strongest tracks, the bombastic doom of “Cemetery Angels” and solar plexus attack of “I Become One”. The latter being my personal favorite off the album.
The band slows it down next for the emotionally haunting acoustic piece, “A Farewell To Misery”.
Another standout track takes the band into an old school thrash mode on “Cleanse Me, Heal Me”. This one harks back to early Testament or Metallica.
The album closes out with “Symbiosis” which kicks off with a monster wall of crunchy riffage and pounding drum work from Tommy Buckley.
This is Kirk’s first hand a producing an album, and he kept the sound dark and cohesive throughout. You can listen to him discuss the new record here.
The entire album is infused with that classic down-tuned southern NOLA sound of sludgy doom. Sever The Wicked Hand is everything you’ve come to expect from Crowbar and Kirkwindstein, heavy, with equal parts fast and slow, and packed with melodic mournful aggression. This album could quite easily become your own wicked hand. You’ve been warned.
Sever The Wicked Hand
Liquid Sky And Cold Black Earth
Let Me Mourn
The Cemetary Angels
As I Become One
A Farewell To Misery
Protectors Of The Shrine
I Only Deal In Truth
Echo An Eternity
Cleanse Me, Heal Me
Catch Crowbar on the Metalliance Tour
Mar. 17 – Dallas, TX – Southside Music Hall
Mar. 18 – Austin, TX – Dirty Dog / SXSW
Mar. 19 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
Mar. 20 – St Petersburg, FL – State Theater
Mar. 21 – Orlando, FL – Firestone Live
Mar. 22 – Greensboro, NC – Greene Street
Mar. 23 – Springfield, VA – Jaxx
Mar. 24 – Worcester, MA – Palladium
Mar. 25 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
Mar. 26 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
Mar. 27 – Joliet, IL – Mojoe’s
Mar. 29 – Denver, CO – The Summit
Mar. 31 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
Apr. 01 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Apr. 03 – San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine
Apr. 05 – Hollywood, CA – House Of Blues