Entering their thirty-first year of existence, Louisiana Sludge demons Crowbar are about to unleash their twelfth full length album, Zero And Below, this March via the MNRK Heavy label, formerly known as eOne Music. The album has been complete for quite some time, as main man Kirk Windstein states, the past couple years has been “such a sad time for so many people going through the Covid-19 epidemic and we felt it wasn’t a good time to release any new material. Get ready because the heavy is coming!”
As a relatively ample sized Crowbar fan, I’m happy to report that Windstein wasn’t kidding. Their strongest record [ed] in quite some time, which is just great news! Depending on your level of appreciation for their attributes (namely the voice and guitar tone of Windstein), Crowbar has always provided a great deal of comfort for lovers of all things crustaceous and doom-laden. Zero And Below sees the band simultaneously doubling down on and breathing new life into the Sludge paradigm, which is no easy task considering Crowbar is one of those bands that fans neither desire nor expect to change much. At the same time, nobody wants to hear the same record twice! So, what’s an aging Southern riff-beast supposed to do with so little wiggle room? Fucking destroy everything in his path, that’s what!
Ten tracks in length, some of the highlights range from slow burning grooviness (“Confess To Nothing” and “Denial of the Truth”) to straight up savage riffage (“Chemical Godz,” “It’s Always Worth The Gain,” and “Reanimating A Lie”). The pace of the record balances excellence in both production and song structure, while remaining seemingly aloof about either. It’s just forty two minutes of Crowbar being Crowbar, and reminding anyone within earshot that “the heavy is coming,” and the heavy doesn’t give a rats ass if your ears are bleeding by the end of the evening.