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Crowbar Lifesblood For the Downtrodden

By Chris Hawkins, Contributor
Monday, March 7, 2005 @ 9:14 AM


(Candlelight USA)

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It’s inevitable to mention any kind of Metal at this point in time, especially Southern Metal, and not bring up the recent passing of Dimebag. Undoubtedly, it’s a subject that will never be dropped. How fitting it is that his peers release this album at this moment. The world needs an enormously heavy soundtrack to drown its tears and beat it back to life, and, as always, if not more than ever, Crowbar has delivered.

I’ve anticipated every Crowbar release, knowing that each turn is never too wide, but also admiring a band that gets better and better. Rare it is, indeed. Lifesblood for the Downtrodden is as abrasive as “Broken Glass,” as experimental as “Odd Fellows Rest” and is as much of a musical sucker punch as “Crowbar.” Kirk Windstein, founder/guitarist/vocalist, understands that delivery, content, respect for the past, and ingenuity are all equivalent to the success of a record. Accompanying the founder is Rex Brown of Pantera, and Craig Nunenmacher, his former drummer and member of Black Label Society. The sound is as massive as the lineup implies. Contained within is their signature wall of guitar, a bass so low and so *there* to rattle your speakers, and drums that not only hit the mark, but throw just enough of an extra beat in to keep the listener interested.

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Having listened to the album many, many times, it’s hard to believe it’s so hard to single out a highlight. Perhaps that says it all. It would have to compared to Down’s debut in the fact that it simply stands for itself. To pick out favorites would be to negate the other tracks. Those may be big words, but Lifesblood… can back it up. The production lends itself to almost a Zeppelin/Sabbath vibe, a classic live sound. It’s as if you can hear the speaker cabinets rattling, the vibration off the snare, and beer bottles falling off every makeshift resting place. You can almost sense the smile on Crowbar’s faces as you can’t help but crank it as loud as the neighbor’s can stand.

As always the Crowbar sound is the bottle to your face, the dry heaving in the toilet, the denial of dreams and love, and the retribution of it all. That is why the album title is so fitting. Unlike so many bands out there who revel in Doom or Hardcore, Crowbar is like the therapy, the methadone for the habit that is raw emotion and ultimately, life itself.

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