Crowbar - Lifesblood for the Downtrodden (CD)
Catalog number: CDL0158CD
Lifesblood for the Downtrodden retains the heavy sludge qualities of their previous material, but there’s more variety. Each song is unique and distinct. The sound remains the same, and Windstein’s tortured, world-weary vocals will always be a constant, but there’s a noticeable amount of growth in Crowbar’s latest. They shift tempos, undercut the riffs with some melodic passages, and expand on their foundations. It’s still sludge, but not rigidly so. And best of all, it remains uncompromisingly heavy.
In a way this is a brand new Crowbar, with guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein the only remaining member of the group's lineup. Windstein brings in former Black Label Society member Steve Gibb (guitar), Pat Bruders (bass) and Tommy Buckley (drums) to round out this particular version. The album is produced by Rex Brown (Pantera, Down) and Warren Riker (Corrosion Of Conformity, Down) in true southern sludge style. If those two guys can't understand the Crowbar style then nobody does.
With Lifesblood for the Downtrodden Crowbar continue marching forward, further defining a sound that they helped create and establish. With down tuned guitars and sidewalk shattering groove, these doom dragons embark on another full length of loud blasting sludge. But unlike prior albums I have heard, Crowbar have decided to tone down a bit, invoking some powerful images through style and grace. With emotional songwriting and the dramatic presence and character of Windstein, these New Orleans bad boys aren't dishing out the punishment, instead kicking back to bask in the moment. With plenty of huge groove and stomping riffs, the old sounds of the band can't be forgotten. This time around I do hear a bit of melody and maturity sinking in though.