After 25-plus years of cementing Crowbar’s “None Heavier” status, mastermind Kirk Windstein characterizing “Falling While Rising” – the first single off the New Orleans sludge pioneers’ eleventh studio album The Serpent Only Lies – as “heavier than ever,” came as a bit of a head-scratcher and set high expectations. The band’s new merch even bears the new slogan. Turns out, the Riff Lord’s claim is equally rhetorical and existential.
The Serpent Only Lies is as heavy as you’d expect and has songs to please every type of Crowbar fan. Are you the dude who goes apeshit every time they bust out “Self-Inflicted” or “Burn Your World” live? Then stretch those old bones and get ready to tear it up to hardcore punk-infused hybrids “I am the Storm” and “The Enemy Beside You.” Are you the choked-up bloke staggering intensely around the now-empty pit during “Planets Collide” and “The Lasting Dose?” Then crushing sludge ballads (yeah, I said it) “Surviving the Abyss” and “Embrace the Light” are for you. I’ve always found Crowbar to be at their brutal best when Kirk pairs his most sensitive lyrics with his 10-ton, cement-shoe riffs, and these tracks are amongst their best.
The Beard of Doom has been a sage advisor, teaching us that time will be the only factor, even if it heals nothing, that existence is punishment but suffering brings wisdom, and to walk with that knowledge wisely. Sharing his struggles as plainly as the band logo tattoos covering his body, Kirk is Crowbar — as long as he exists, the band will be heavy. Now 51 years old, he sings, “losing touch while growing old,” in album closer “As I Heal.” He has nothing to worry about with this heaviest of records.
The Serpent Only Lies is available October 28 from eOne Music. Preorder here.