Crowbar will always hold a special place in my heart. While Pantera is technically the first live “show” I ever attended it was Crowbar, who opened, who will always be the first band I ever saw live. They’ve had some up’s, some down’s, and some in between’s in their recorded work but have always persevered and stayed true to themselves. Their latest is a testament to that statement and more proof that sometimes the older you get, the heavier you get.
Getting to The Serpent Only Lies, Crowbar’s eleventh full-length, main man Kirk Windstein wasn’t lying recently when saying that the inspiration for the new album was partly taken from earlier Crowbar releases. One listen through the album and the self-titled and Odd Fellows Rest especially come to mind. That’s not to say TSOL is a re-tread of past glories by any means. If anything, TSOL stands apart from the catalog by taking the Crowbar sound of yesteryear, honing it, and soaring to inexplicable new heights of consistency and excellence.
Add original bassist Todd Strange back to the mix and TSOL solidly brings all the sludge and paint peeling riffage that you’d want and have come to expect from an iconic Crowbar album.
Nothing captures the feel of Crowbar and the above sentiment better than opener “Falling While Rising” which brings that huge wall of sound with Windstein’s unmistakable howl powerfully piercing through. Drummer Tommy Buckley flexes his chops with some powerful thumping on “Plasmic And Pure” and even more so on the straight up thrasher “I Am The Storm” which follows.
“Surviving The Abyss” could be on Odd Fellows Rest: The Sequel with equal parts heaviness and harmony then the title track rips and tears and opens into this grand breakdown BARELY A MINUTE IN.
“The Enemy Beside You” is another rabble rouser that devolves into a huge Sabbathian dirge before climbing the tempo mountain again while “Embrace The Light” is like a hymnal replete with Windstein’s layered vox forming a hypnotic chant and yet again on the somber “Song Of The Dunes”.