It's been six long years, but New Orleans sludge legends Crowbar have returned with another righteous slab of devastating heaviness. Led by guitarist, vocalist and mastermind Kirk Windstein-who also lends his considerable talents to the super groups Down and Kingdom Of Sorrow-Crowbar have influenced an entire generation of metal musicians through the sheer force of their massively detuned riffage and the crushing emotional weight of Windstein's soul-baring lyrics. From the bruising slow-grooves of their 1991 debut, Obedience Thru Suffering, and 1995's Crowbar (produced by Down/ex-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo) to the roaring redemption songs of 2000's Equilibrium and 2005's Lifesblood For The Downtrodden (featuring Down/ex-Pantera gunslinger Rex Brown on bass), Crowbar have honed a signature sound that has become instantly recognizable around the world.
Crowbar began in 1988 as the brainchild of Windstein and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Bower (also of Eyehategod and Down), with an eye to playing slow and-most importantly-low. "When we started the band, thrash was at its peak," Windstein recalls. "Then Jimmy and I started rediscovering Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus and bands like that. We started tuning to D and then C and then B and even A on some songs. It was all about how much low-end we could get out of it."
Bower split Crowbar in 1990, only to return to the drum pulpit for 1996's Broken Glass and 1998's Odd Fellows Rest, the latter of which also featured Goatwhore's Sammy Duet on second guitar. (Duet also played on Crowbar's 2001 release, Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form.) Meanwhile, Windstein and co. toiled away on the global club circuit, slowly establishing Crowbar as a force unto itself and earning the admiration and respect of fans and fellow musicians. Meanwhile, members of Hatebreed (vocalist Jamey Jasta currently co-manages Crowbar and founded Kingdom Of Sorrow with Windstein), Killswitch Engage (bassist Mike D'Antonio did the cover art for Crowbar's latest) and Chimaira professed their discipleship to Windstein's detuned church of immaculate heaviness. "When I met these guys, they were freaking out about Crowbar," he says in astonishment. "And to me, that's like, wow-because all these younger bands are so much bigger than Crowbar. But that's definitely been raising a bit of interest in us these days."
On February 8th, 2011, Crowbar will unleash Sever The Wicked Hand, their first new studio album in exactly six years. After spending the bulk of that time on the road with Down and recording with Kingdom Of Sorrow, Windstein has finally awoken his own slumbering musical giant, and the results are appropriately gargantuan. "This record is probably the most important record we've done," he enthuses. "Maybe because we've been around so long and bands have been influenced by Crowbar, but there seems to be more hype and excitement about the band than ever before, which is really cool. The way I'm looking at it, this album is basically the re-launch of Crowbar."
From the booming, anticipatory chords of album opener "Isolation (Desperation)" to the glacial, thundering death rattle of closer "Symbiosis," Sever The Wicked Hand is nothing short of a triumph—both musically and personally. "I gave up drugs and alcohol back in August," Windstein explains, "so it was a cool experience writing and singing everything completely sober. I've pretty much always done my guitar tracks without beer, but when I would sing, I would get tanked. This time it was a very different emotional experience doing it with a clear head, especially because so many lyrics on this record are very personal. I was nervous about it, but it worked out really well."
Indeed, most of the songs on Sever The Wicked Hand detail the various physical and psychological aspects of Windstein's sobriety process. "It's not a concept record, but it's definitely got a theme," he clarifies. "Sever The Wicked Hand is just a metaphor for cutting anything negative out of your life. Obviously, it can be the hand that pulls the beer to your mouth, the hand that holds the straw to your nose, the hand that pops the pill in. It could be getting rid of a bad relationship, a bad friendship—anything that brings negativity to your life in any way. It's about getting rid of that and moving forward."
Windstein realized his vision with help from his faithful bandmates Tommy Buckley (drums), Pat Bruders (bass) and new guitarist Matt Brunson. "Tommy and Pat have been in the band for six and a half years, believe it or not," Windstein observes with a laugh. "It just doesn't seem that way because we haven't done anything in a while. But they've been really loyal and they put up with me going off for years with Down, and they're great players. Matt used to be my roommate. He's a really good friend and a really good guitar player. Everybody's attitude is great, and I just think we're really in the right position now. All our ducks are in a row as far as finally getting Crowbar to the next level."
- Sever The Wicked Hand
- Release 2/8/2011
- Coming Soon...