With their first full length album Old Wood & Broken Dreams (2014) Atlanta based sludge trio Crawl delivers a chunk of sludge metal that is deeply rooted in southern tradition. It’s bluesy, swampy, heavy, with a thick and sticky atmosphere infused with the smell of whiskey and weed, executed with a laid back attitude, still destructive as hell.
The album starts with a short instrumental intro track "Crack Tea" and sets the mood with fuzzy blues ridden stoner riffs that hint at the heaviness yet to come. And with each following song, the album gathers intensity and heaviness. The second song “Don’t Kid Me” begins with warm acoustic sounds that soon get wrapped in droney distortion, the next one "Pilldust", again an instrumental track and one of the two longer songs (11:33) on the album, adds hypnotic, minimalistic rhythms that build into doom riffs to finally merge into a psyched out stoner jam.
The Buzzov•en cover "Useless" brings yet another quality of intensity to the album. The vocals here are charged with an extra portion of filth and brutality - a well made new dress for this classic. The longest track “Nigredo” (12:35) uses its time to carefully create massive heavy sludge riffs that evolve from a driving desert-y groove. A quiet ambient "neurosis-like" second part with clean vocals carries the song slowly back to its beginning with a spaced out version of its initial rhythm. A variety of moods and dynamics are in here to enjoy.
And the last track "3 A.M. and a Loaded Gun" is the darkest and most depressive one. The otherwise omnipresent and dominant bluesy, swampy sludge gets twisted here into a cold, bleak kind of sludge, infected with industrial noise, charged with crackling electricity.
Old Wood & Broken Dreams is six songs of traditional southern swamp sludge, soaked in muddy blues and drone sounds, heavy and destructive, but subtly flavoured with stoner grooves, HC beats, psycho rhythms and quiet acoustic parts, blended into the mix in such a skillful way that all comes out pretty organic and contributes to the overall laid back feeling and the high tension dynamics as well… as if this weren’t a contradiction at all.
The song "Useless" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 85
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