Crowbar - Broken Glass
Candlelight Records
Sludge Metal
10 songs (38:16)
Release year: 1996
Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The imminent arrival of the new Kingdom Of Sorrow album was the catalyst behind this Crowbar review, something I’d been intending to do for a while. As big a fan as I am of the Nawleansers, their music succeeds at its crushing purpose so well that it’s hard to summon the desire to listen and engage with their hardcore-infused depressive sound. I’ve seen them referred to before now as the working man’s sludge metal band, and that certainly sums them up well – dissolving NOLA Sludge into three/four minute chunks, Crowbar are the perfect antidote to a hard day’s work, the perfect soundtrack to an evening of drinking and shooting pool, and the perfect introduction to the whole subgenre, if you’ve previously been put off by the gnarlier likes of Eyehategod. Crowbar are far more reliant on the base Heavy Metals of big fat riffs and headbanging than their peers, and so can be more of an inspiring Doom-infused listen, although the misery inherent in every Sludge band is still more than recognisable.

And as you’d expect from the title, Broken Glass is a pretty miserable listen. Like the best Sludge, however, it’s a cathartic one – crawling all the way through is a harrowing experience, but leaves you feeling spiritually and emotionally cleansed. Once you get to know it, it’s surprisingly varied, switching between defiant headbanging anthems like You Know (I’ll Live Again) and the slower, even more punishing likes of (Can’t) Turn Away From Dying. Generally, the band are perfectly capable of mixing the two, however, Like Broken Glass’ surging stomp a fine example of how to cripple your audience’s emotional growth whilst making them headbang like loons. Nothing, meanwhile, is pure Doom at its most awesome, slow, grinding and utterly captivating, whilst closer Reborn Thru Me brings a clattering intensity that manages to outdo even the other, brilliant, highlights.

It’s impossible not to appreciate this album as throughout the songwriting quality is high. Yet as good as, say, the drumbeats that open first track Conquering are, soon buried under a liquid surge of pure molten metal, you have to credit Kirk Windstein’s throaty howl above all. He’s really the band’s greatest asset, his voice managing to connect with your inner self and seem manly and dishearteningly upset at the same time – my main beef with Kingdom Of Sorrow is how unnecessary and inferior Jamey Jasta’s bellow is in comparison, especially when you consider that Crowbar already have a good dose of Hardcore in them. It’s never allowed to overtake the boiling, seething sludge, however, and ultimately Windstein’s first band will always be superior to Kingdom Of Sorrow and deserves its publicity.

Killing Songs :
Conquering, Like Broken Glass, Nothing, I Am Forever, (You Know) I’ll Live Again, Reborn Thru Me
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Crowbar that we have reviewed:
Crowbar - Symmetry in Black reviewed by Andy and quoted 91 / 100
Crowbar - Sever The Wicked Hand reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Crowbar - Equilibrium reviewed by Danny and quoted 75 / 100
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