Crowbar - Symmetry in Black (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Symmetry in Black (2014)

Entertainment One

Yes, it's that same Crowbar. The one that rose to prominence after appearing on Beavis and Butthead in the early/mid '90s. The New Orleans—based band has been churning out their brand of doomy metal for more than 20 years. Crowbar is essentially frontman Kirk Windstein and a rotating cast of metal dudes, including members of Pantera, Down, Goatwhore, Acid Bath, EYEHATEGOD and Black Label Society.

Symmetry in Black is Crowbar's tenth studio album and comes just three years after their last, Sever the Wicked Hand. I was a little surprised how active (and under the radar) these guys have remained. The first track on the album finds the band picking up right where I remember them leaving off. The guitars are chugging, the vocals are guttural and the dual lead guitars soar above it all. Second song, "Symmetry in White," is melodic while also being heavy as hell. Most of the songs are slow or mid—tempo with occasional bursts of speed. Track five, "Ageless Decay," is the fastest song on the record. "Amaranthine," track six, mellows things out with clean vocals and guitar, and no drums.

Lyrically, the album is as dark as you would expect. A couple of examples: "I can't explain my suffering/I have lived through misery," "Promise me you'll be there when I die/Give me peace before I close my eyes." It's not easy to spit out words like this and come across as sincere. Windstein excels at it. No one would dare accuse him of inventing his pain as a marketing ploy. The album continues to get darker toward its conclusion. "A Wealth of Empathy" and "Symbolic Suicide" are raw emotion laid bare for all the world to hear.

Symmetry in Black closes with the instrumental "The Piety of Self—Loathing." If I didn't know better, I might thing it was almost hopeful sounding. It's as if Windstein can express optimism through his guitar, even if he is unable with his lyrics and vocals. It's like the slightest ray of light is penetrating the darkness. If you're into the heavy stuff, you could do a lot worse than this.