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Crowbar - Sever The Wicked Hand

Label: eOne Music
Format: CD
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: The Goat
Rating: 10/ 10


Quite often, an individual is driven by powerful emotions or inner turmoil which can only be mediated by some form of artistic expression. Some of the best examples of this principle come from artists (or bands) whose demons become very public (for example, Metallica), some who grieve over a loss (Max Cavalera’s Soulfly) and some who are ultimately consumed by them (Layne Staley). It is often joked that when the individual, or the driving force behind the band, stops abusing drugs or drinking, or starts going into therapy, the art suffers and is not the same. So, it was some trepidation that I approached "Sever The Wicked Hand" after hearing that Kirk Windstein had gone sober and clean. Honestly, I hadn’t realized he had had problems of that sort.

 

Thankfully, Windstein has bucked the trend. We do not have Crowbar Lite in this release, so breathe a sigh of relief. "Sever The Wicked Hand" is probably one of the best releases Kirk and his cast of Crowbarred Characters has offered to date ("Oddfellow’s Rest" being the album to compare this release to, in my opinion). Kirk’s voice is unmistakable and his guitar tone is one of the most unique. This is very heavy stuff (as it has always been). I remember when I first heard the first frequently played single by Crowbar, "All I Had (I Gave)". I was blown away by the depths that Kirk’s voice conveyed the anguish of a man who had tried and, despite his effort, failed. All the subsequent releases have demonstrated this raw emotion. Crowbar has always brought a really powerful expression of despair and anguish in their style of doom.

The current release in question shows Kirk and Crowbar expressing something new. The edge in the guitar tone is still there and Kirk’s voice still carries that powerfully raw emotion. Difference here is that all the songs carry a glimmer of hope. I’m not talking a Pollyanna "life is great" attitude but the songs carry a measure of resilience. There is a sense that even though life sucks, there is inner strength to persevere. It is evident that Kirk has learned a valuable lesson in efforts to keep his demons at bay (or at least feed them right).

So, for the fans, be prepared, "Sever" is slightly different but in a good way. Crowbar never sounded better (ok, "Oddfellow’s" will always remain at the top). For those unfamiliar with Crowbar, may this album bring you to their sound and make you a fan.

Best tracks: ‘Liquid Sky And Cold Black Earth’, ‘Cemetery Angels’, ‘A Farewell To Misery’, and ‘I Only Deal In Truth’.

 
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