Album review: Crowbar – Zero And Below

Crowbar retain their title of kings of sludge metal on album number 12…

Album review: Crowbar – Zero And Below
Angela Davey

Over the course of 32 years, Crowbar have cemented themselves as a pillar of sludge metal. Eponymous of suffering, Southern desolation and delivering guitar hooks with more bite force than an alligator, their sound has remained consistent throughout their previous 11 albums, a remarkable achievement when you consider how frequently their line-up changes. Zero And Below sees the band welcome bassist Shane Wesley into the fold. Despite playing with the band since 2018 this is the first album that Shane has featured on. It’s clear that he’s settled in well, as in true Crowbar fashion, their 12th outing doesn’t deviate at all from their trademark blend of punk and doom.

Opening with high octane chugathon The Fear That Binds You, Crowbar get right down to business straight away. The familiarity of Kurt Windstein’s gravelly voice feels like an (un)welcome home against a backdrop of downtuned riffs and crashing drums. They’ve lost none of their ability to drag their listeners to the depths of despair either, proven on track Her Evil Is Sacred. The tempo drawls at a glacial pace as the heft of the guitars drip like molasses for the entire duration, carrying a weight with them that crushes beyond all sense of gravity.

There are definitely no surprises here, and that’s not a bad thing. After three decades of delivering tarpit odes to desolation, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has never rung more true. Fans know exactly what to expect of Crowbar, so they’ll be stoked to find that that’s exactly what they’re getting on Zero And Below.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Eyehategod, Corrosion Of Conformity, High On Fire

Zero And Below is out now via MNRK Heavy

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