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.

Live Review: Flow Tribe

I am the type of strange, southern female that you hear about that doesn’t care about organized fighting a.k.a. football a.k.a. every time I look up at the television men in sports pads are standing around doing nothing a.k.a. what ruins my friendships every fall. So, last Saturday I ditched my top-tier football loving friend group to go to a concert with a former coworker.  I’m going to tell you right now, I made the right decision.

Flow Tribe’s website states:

“Straight out of New Orleans and into your earholes, Flow Tribe comes at you with the delicacy of a sledgehammer. They create ‘backbone cracking music,’ a soul shaking mixture of styles and sounds guaranteed to drive you wild. These are 6 seasoned performers who have shared the stage with the likes of Trombone Shorty, Juvenile, and BIll Summers just to name a few. A relentlessly touring band that plays major venues and festivals around the country bringing with them a heat and passion best described as ‘bizarrely irresistible.’”

That is a statement I agree with because I witnessed it first hand.

The band is six piece male Funk/Rock/Psychedelic/Blues infusion and the band’s amazing performance got the crowd moving at Smith’s Olde Bar.  It played a slew of its original funk tunes, as well as popular cover songs everyone already knew.

 

 

Among its cover songs, Flow Tribe performed “Jump in Line (Shake, Shake Senora),”  the song Winona Ryder was seen getting funky to at the end of “Beetlejuice” and Juvenile’s “Back That Azz up.” The latter of which was rapped successfully by the keyboard and washboard player and got all the white people (including myself) shaking what their mamas gave them on the dance floor.  I also should mention that washboard/keyboardist also had some crazy dance moves.  In fact, the entire band could be on “Darrin’s Dance Grooves 31” as the soundtrack and back up dancers if the band were inclined to do so.  So Darrin, if you’re reading this, you should team up with Flow Tribe.

I had so much fun.

For more information about Flow Tribe and to purchase the albums visit Flow Tribe’s website, like the band on Facebook  and follow the band on Twitter .