CROWBAR – Lifesblood For The Downtrodden

Lifesblood For The Downtrodden


Release date: February 8, 2005

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New Jersey’s Crowbar are out with their new album, and not surprisingly Kirk Windstein’s (bass, vocals, and founder of the band) men once again redefine why down-tuned guitars help the world move forward. Crowbar have released several kick-butt records since 1989, and those fans into the muddy, the dark, and the groovy have probably learned to appreciate this band’s music already. Pantera on dope is a good way to describe Crowbar to the Mud-Metal virgins out there – the riffs are similar in tone, but the tempos and grooves are, for the most part, slower, and the vocals darker.

Lifeblood for the Downtrodden is one of those albums where you can practically press the “random” button on your CD player (because you’re of course using a CD player?!? – iPods and such are once and for all the work of the devil!) and see what happens – this is quality Mud-Metal through and through.

“New Dawn” and “Slave No More” open the ball in a trademark way with some truly killer riffs, which set your body in a groove that really doesn’t let go. Judging from the music, the title is rather ironic, as this is pretty far from the music that the down usually is associated with. While the two opening numbers are more mid-tempo, “Angel’s Wings” is definitely on the speedier side, and is not for the fainthearted. With the riffing, thundering drums, and Windstein’s ferocious vocals to top things off, this is brutal stuff. Awesome.

As a contrast to this, “Coming Down” is slow and very 70s-ish in terms of riffs and groove. This is just as brutal as it’s predecessor, though, and the more melodic vocals, big guitars and drums, along with the very depressive lyrics, gives the track a very claustrophobic feeling, and the way the band manages to channel these true emotions through their music is impressive indeed. If you ever considered suicide, this is the track to accompany you when the day has come.

“Fall Back To Zero” opens in the same vein with a slow bass-riff and emotional vocals before another trademark mid-tempo riff kicks in. These parts make up the first half of the track, before the bridge enters with more ingeniously arranged, astoundingly brutal guitar riffs. The guitar sound (and overall production) on this album is incredibly dark and dirty, and suits the band perfectly.

After two such syrup-monsters, both “Underworld” and “Dead Sun” are faster, but unfortunately these two are also the weakest tracks on the album. At least this goes for “Underworld,” as “Dead Sun” is partially saved by an amazing chorus, which actually ranks among the top ones on the entire disc, as it blends several voices/vocal effects to create a spellbinding atmosphere. The rest are not at that level, unfortunately. The main riff has an almost hardcore feeling to it, which doesn’t suit the track at all, and the verses are too anonymous. Luckily things get far better with “Holding Something,” a progressive (for the band), and at times, atonal song with some terrific 70s-style riffing, ideal for the pot-heads out there.

“Moon” is further down the alley arrangement-wise, as this is among the most intricate tunes on the album. The vocals once again are more melodic and are used to create a very dark and depressive mood. They are very emotional, and the melodies really grow on you after a few spins. A strong track indeed. That also goes for “The Violent Reaction.” This track also has some hardcore elements (hardcore as in “more modern sounding”), especially in the verses, but it works better this time. There are lots of cool stuff going on in this track – check the guitar lines in the intro, the great, Motörhead-style speed part at about 2:30, and the mighty vocals towards the end. A great and incredibly powerful track.

The ending track, “Lifesblood,” is pretty far-out stuff. It’s acoustic throughout (except for a few electric lead-lines) and pretty psychedelic at times, and is definitely easiest to digest with some sort of stimulant onboard. It captures the very dark, gloomy, and claustrophobic feel of the album in a great way, and is such a perfect way to end off things.

This quality album is recommended for everyone, and it can be ordered from the Crowbar homepage.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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