kirk winstein

Album Review: “Dream In Motion” by Kirk Windstein

Heavy metal luminary Kirk Windstein has spent the last 35 years gracing the world with the heaviest, crushing, earth splitting, melancholic metal on the planet as founder and front man of Crowbar. His aptly titled solo debut, Dream In Motion, retains the sorrowful, downbeat spirit of Crowbar, but with a varied musical soundscape. The title track and initial single commences the record with Kirk’s signature sludge guitar riffs accompanied with pounding drums and bass. An ode to his life and career, “Dream In Motion” is a declaration of perseverance and dedication. It is a story of a man that has seen it all and knows that there is more to come. The grooving midsection and crunching guitar riffs reaffirm why Kirk’s music has stood the test of time.

“Hollow Dying Man” is a desolate, eerie number with gloomy riffs that one would expect to hear at a funeral procession. This melancholic feeling remains throughout the album. “Once Again” is notable for its jazzy percussion, which strangely complements the hazy, weeping guitars on the track. “The World You Know” is another dirge with a depressing, overwhelming riff that feels like a looming black cloud. Despite the despondent music, Kirk urges one to live on, in hopes of a better tomorrow. “Necropolis,” features a strumming guitar that sounds like tears hitting the ground. The mournful guitar keys accentuate the feeling of sadness and misery on this track. The album concludes with a cover of “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull and a personal favorite song of mine. Crowbar has played this song live, but never recorded it for an album. Kirk and company cover the song superbly, especially during the acoustic part of the song. A song about homeless man without hope, the lyricist encourages Aqualung to carry on. It is a fitting end to an album created by a man that refuses to give up.

Dream In Motion is not a Crowbar album by another name. There are heavy parts on the record, but it focuses more on mood than loud guitars. Crowbar has several songs in its discography that are soft, psychedelic and unorthodox (Odd Fellows Rest, Amaranthine to name a couple). Thus, Dream is not an album out of left field, as Crowbar fans are familiar with Kirk’s softer material. That feeling of hopelessness and isolation disrupted by but a scintilla of optimism is also present on this record. Heaviness is not just about volume, but feeling and Kirk masters that emotion as he’s mastered the riff.

Dream In Motion is a very strong effort that will satisfy Crowbar fans who have followed Kirk on his amazing journey. The fact that Crowbar are recording a new album this year and Kirk is back in Down is proof positive that the dream continues.

Check out Crowbar’s website for tour dates and merch:

http://www.crowbarnola.com/

CD Review: “The Serpent Only Lies” by Crowbar

The Masters of Sludge get back to the basics on their 11th record, The Serpent Only Lies. The return of Todd Strange may play a role in this as Crowbar aim for heaviness over experimentation on this album. This is not to say that 2011’s Sever The Wicked Hand and 2014’s Symmetry in Black were not heavy. However, Crowbar included lush, ambient tracks that worked to diversify the mood on both records. On Serpent, the boys mean business and prove this out the gate with “Falling While Rising.” The stomping riff lumbers like a giant down a mountain before taking off in to a galloping beat.

This is the band at its finest and is sure to become a fan favorite. Crowbar also return to its hardcore punk roots with “I Am The Storm” with its dysmorphic d-beat and Kirk’s lyrics of self-empowerment and unconquered strength. It gets the job done in less than 3 minutes and shows Crowbar’s superb ability to blend hardcore and metal. “Surviving The Abyss” has a dreamy, melancholic riff that paint a bleak picture of walking in the darkness. This track is in the same vein as “Planets Collide” on the band’s 1998 release Odd Fellows Rest. Thus, it serves as another example of the band rediscovering its old sound. The title track is another highlight with its punkish riffing but monastic chorus. The molten, dissonant riffing of Kirk Windstein and Matt Brunson is in full form here.

This record is more focused than Crowbar’s past couple of releases. This record features only 10 songs and clocks in at 45 minutes. Serpent is not generic by any means, and the band does not play it safe. However, there are fewer avant-garde songs on this album than on the band’s past few records. Serpent shows Crowbar playing the somber, sludgy, doom metal that brought the band recognition in the first place. However, Kirk and company are not remaking Time Heals Nothing or Obedience Through Suffering. Serpent is a modern take on the quartet’s old school sound and it works. The production is stellar and the album is a great follow up to Symmetry in Black.

The Serpent Only Lies is another notch in the belt for Crowbar. Fans of the band will enjoy hearing Todd Strange pluck out his godly basslines in the band that he helped form. The record is not trite and there is still an experimental element that is refreshing. Crowbar has delivered once again and that is no lie.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s Facebook page.