I recently realized how big of an influence Crowbar has been in my guitar playing. Now, I am certainly no “Riff Lord”, but every time I play, I seem to gravitate toward downtuned minor keyed power chords. As Kirk Windstein himself puts it, “Tune low, play slow”.
Windstein left NOLA supergroup Down to refocus on Crowbar for their 25th anniversary, and there seems to be a renewed vitality that runs through their latest album, “Symmetry In Black”. The album opener Walk With Knowledge Wisely opens with a pummeling drumbeat, and Windstein’s jackhammer riffing. When he screams “I am the living proof / that a soul can burn a thousand times..”, you can feel the conviction in his voice. If Crowbar is known for one thing, it is brutal self-honesty and introspection. But, there is a certain intangible x-factor that runs through Symmetry: there are glimmers of positivity, and a sense that Windstein, through all of his personal and professional battles, has finally found some peace.
Album highlights include Reflection Of Deceit, with its haunting melodies and a chorus riff that brings to mind the riff from Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida”, if it were downtuned and dragged through a Louisiana swamp; The Taste Of Dying, which has what must be one of the first radio-friendly hooks that Crowbar has ever done, despite the morbid anti-substance abuse themed lyrics; and the powerful groove of Teach The Blind To See, which seemingly takes a page from Windstein’s Kingdom Of Sorrow collaborator Jamey Jasta, with its hardcore-inspired “I’ve been through the struggle, let me guide you” type of lyrics.
This has been a fantastic two weeks for fans of the New Orleans metal scene, with solid releases from Down, Eyehategod, and Crowbar. Symmetry In Black is vintage Crowbar with a newfound focus and determination, and it is certainly one of their greatest albums.