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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Crowbar – Zero and Below (2022)

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Real talk, took a few weeks off from writing these because nothing really caught my interest. Sometimes its fun digging around for obscure gold (love and hatred are two different kinds of gold). But last few weeks it felt more like work, and that’s not the point of music!

So with that, this album was released a few days ago, and this is definitely a sound I normally have fun with. Louisiana flavored Sludge Metal is a pretty good time, from Acid Bath, Corrosion of Conformity, and Down, there are many ghosts along the Mississippi and they all rock. Crowbar themselves go back to around 1991, so they aren’t fresh faced punks.

This is a refined sound, and I’m looking forward to this one. Let us hope it doesn’t disappoint!

  • Artist: Crowbar
  • Album: Zero and Below (2022)
  • Label: MNRK Records
  • Total Track Time:  42:48

The Fear That Binds You starts with some crunchy southern metal rock riffing and then into the doom stomp vibe for the chorus. The vocals come in with a distorted scream almost like they’re being sung through a wind storm, which adds a fun layer to vibe of the song. Very simple lyrical content, but the song has that Sludge groove that is great, awesome cymbal crash fills and just an easy first song into the album. If this is setting the tone for the rest to come, it’s gonna be great. I love the fact they go back into the Doom riffing for the last few lyrics of “Survive, No More Borrowed Time”. It just sounds cool and definitely has interpretation layers given the events of the past few years. Her Evil Is Sacred again, lyrically sparse but the imagery is very cool. “I’m bowing down on bloody knees, I’m crying out, I beg and plead, The unknown world is burning down, It suffocates beneath the ground” – while this is effectively a pre-chorus, it carries a lot between covid and the acts of war from Russia on Ukraine. While nothing has been revolutionary, the simple Sludge riffs and couple of lyrics that turn into topical thinkers helps to sprinkle in some nice buried treasure early on.

Confess to Nothing has some great Doom riffs through the whole thing, almost feels like a Candlemass song. Lyrically it’s about struggling (possibly with heroine from the needle mention) and not giving in to weakness; survival seems to be a big theme so far. Chemical Godz – HELL YEAH – this starts with a really bouncing and groovy Corrosion style of riff. While the reprise is just one sentence repeated with a Doom slow down, the choruses’ ramp back into the groove, so I appreciate where this song goes. Coming off the last song which could have had heroine implications, the mention of chemicals keeps the messaging obvious that it’s about substance abuse. I’m just really digging the song composition. Denial of The Truth now okay, this feels like a pure gothic Doom track. Even the approach to the vocals is echoed but clean. I get some Type O Negative vibes from this song. “I carry on, Determination, You will survive, Withlightinside” adds the oddly positive lyrical aspect on top of the heavy Doom riffs, so it sets up a fun juxtaposition but works well.

Bleeding From Every Hole definitely shows their Punk influence. This is of course a very colorful approach to the title and some of the lyrics but it seems like a song about picking yourself back up after you’re at your worst. You get some Sludge riffing as the song pushes towards the end, but it a pretty solid tempo Punk song for the most part. It’s Always Worth the Gain well the guitar isn’t super crunchy, the drums are kind of clear…this feels like an 80s Rock/Metal song. If the vocals were cleaner this almost feels like something any band from that era could pull off. Could be lyrically about the music industry or anything else where competition is rampant, but the song itself is just very unique to the usual Crowbar approach. Crush Negativity there’s an irony between the song being called Crush Negativity and sounding like a kid on suicide watch’s theme song. As a similar theme to a lot of the songs, the latter half does seem to take the initial negative and flip it to a positivity with redemption or determination coming through. It’s just still amusing in my head, what can I say, I’m an asshole.

Reanimating a Lie gives me more Gojira vibes than I was expecting with the lyrics being conceptually about a dying sun, eternal winters and worldwide death. Toward the end we get an interesting Motorhead influenced Metal/Punk tempo before kicking back into a sludge crawl to fade out to. Zero and Below well let’s see what the titular track has to offer to us. Interesting vocal approach immediately makes me think Celtic Frost. Which again, the hope/coming out of the darkness tone is very much relevant in this song. “Please don’t end it all – Close your eyes, don’t fall”, so I like how the whole album is kind of hope and redemption based. But this song is so, melodic and somber…and NANI THE FUCK – is that an acoustic guitar on a Crowbar song? This is a beautifully arranged song and definitely very cool to end on with the atmosphere it creates and builds off of the messaging of the entire album.

Well that was an interesting listen to put it mildly. Whereas the first few songs were very safe and very Crowbar, they definitely experimented outside of their usual methods on this album. Not doing the pure Southern Sludge, throwing in a straight Doom song, a few more Heavy Metal styled songs and ending melodically with an acoustic guitar. I went into the album just expecting a decent but not surprising album, and I’m definitely left thinking more than I expected.

The lyrical tone was pretty consistent throughout except for the song about a dying sun. The style changes didn’t feel drastic within the album, just given the fact that Crowbar has been around 30+ years you don’t always expect certain pivots in style. Beyond a few of the songs being par for the course, they added enough interesting elements to stay fresh without sounding disjointed. Crowbar with a pretty damn good effort in 2022!

 

Final Judgment: 7/10

 


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Musical Chairs S4: E2- Randy Newman & The Doors [071624]

Musical Chairs returns for Episode 2 of Season 4. This week, the guys cover Randy Newman and The Doors!

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Musical Chairs returns for another excellent installment as we take a look at two more tremendous acts from the annals of music history. This week, Patrick chose Randy Newman. Equal parts songwriter and performer Randy Newman is one of the most celebrated songwriters of this, or any other, generation. In the later part of his career, he composed no less than nine Disney-Pixar films, and he has been nominated for 22 Academy Awards! Dave, meanwhile, chose one of the most iconic and controversial bands of all time…The Doors. Led by one of rock’s all-time great frontmen, Jim Morrison, The Doors redefined music in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Despite being under constant scrutiny…. including being banned in many parts of the nation… The Doors became legends and their music continues to be extremely popular even today.  Tune in this week and learn a few things about two hugely important fixtures of musical history!

Today’s hosts: Dave Ungar (@AttitudeAgg) and Patrick O’Dowd (@WrestlngRealist)

  • Episode 2 of Season 4 of Musical Chairs focuses on Randy Newman & The Doors

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About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.

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Bandwagon Nerds

Bandwagon Nerds #244: Brave New Worlds

The guys review Episode 7 of The Boys, Sason 4, check out some massive trailers for the MCU, and take an early look at D23.

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BWN returns this week to look at some world-changing things happening all across the Nerdosphere. This begins with Episode 7 of Season 4 of The Boys. The penultimate Episode for this season had a dizzying number of moving parts including a Supe virus gone wrong, a shocking death, more gruesome moments, and a cliffhanger involving one of our favorite characters. It all sets up for an unforgettable season finale and the guys break it all down for you. Speaking of favorite shows, the fellas take a look at the latest trailer for the final season of The Umbrella Academy. But the MCU kind of dominated the Trailer Park this week as we got our first look at Agatha All Along and Captain America: Brave New World. Dave’s somewhat tepid reaction to the latter trailer brought Rey out of his extended vacation and we have all the details for you here on this Episode. All that plus X-Men ’97 got a new writer, a surprising casting decision for Booster Gold, and the guys look at the schedule for D23 to let you know what they have their eyes on.

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About Bandwagon Nerds

Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, PC Tunney, Rey Cash, and DPP as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Launched in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment. Wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts + the most interesting content + the most engaging hosts = the most entertaining podcasts you’ll find!

Featuring shows such as POD is WAR (sports, entertainment & sports entertainment) Bandwagon Nerds (entertainment & popular culture), The DWI Podcast (Drunk Wrestling Intellect), The Greg DeMarco Show (wrestling), The #Miranda Show (wrestling and entertainment), Hockey Talk (sports), Patrick O’Dowd’s 5×5 (pop culture), The Outsider’s Edge (wrestling), Down The Wire (Sports), Talk The Keki (Anime), The Mindless Wrestling Podcast, Attitude Of Aggression/The Big Four (wrestling), and more!


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iTunes  |  iHeart Radio  |  Google Play  |  Spotify
Listen, like, subscribe, and share!

 


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