Crowhurst - III review
|Release date:||April 2019|
01. I Will Carry You To Hell
02. Self Portrait With Halo And Snake
03. The Drift
04. La Faim
05. Ghost Tropic
06. Five Characters In Search Of An Exit
III is a special kind of album. It feels as both the ultimate conclusion to everything Crowhurst have ever done up to this point, as well as a promise of even bigger things to come.
Crowhurst are primarily a noise act. They have a shitload of releases. As you can see on our website, they have pretty abysmal user ratings. This should already put off a lot of people, but bear with me here. That was a rookie mistake that even we did and we tried to make up for it. III is not a noise album. And if you could tell, Crowhurst have been less prolific in the past few years, ever since their metal trilogy started, culminating their noise albums with a collaboration with no other than Gnaw Their Tongues. But the metal trilogy is ending here with a monumental record.
First up, this will be released through Prophecy Productions. Secondly, it was produced by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Brad Boatright. Thirdly, it got Crowhurst two sets at this year's Roadburn, where he'll perform with Gnaw Their Tongues and Lingua Ignota. That should already make you excited, but I haven't even gotten to the guests just yet. Andy Curtis-Brignell from Caïna, Tony Wakeford from Sol Invictus, Ethan Lee McCarthy from Primitive Man and Tara Vanflower from Lycia should ring some bells. Jesus Christ, I've filled two paragraphs just with hype and stuff you could have read anyway beforehand. Granted, it's still a while before the album is released, so sorry for hyping it so much while you still can't listen to it, but hey, let's finally talk about the music itself.
The album itself is barely over half an hour, and that is quite a weird criticism coming from me, but if feels a tad too short, and with how packed it is with worthwhile stuff, it feels so much like exactly the opposite of a long album with a lot of filler that I actually feel the need for some filler to be better able to digest it due to how much killer it feels. There's still obviously a lot of emphasis on creating atmosphere, as expected from a noise outfit, but the record is incredibly dynamic and never lingers for too long in one place; instead, that atmosphere is often built by the interweaving of the quite sludgy black metal parts with the noise that Crowhurst are famous for. The noise and electronics are less of a prominent feature as I would have expected, but tracks like "Five Characters In Search Of An Exit" are where it makes an obvious impact. Also since the track is named after a The Twilight Zone episode, I should mention that a lot of III is influenced by movies, documentaries and TV shows, out of which I should probably mention Natural Born Killers.
And, as mentioned and as expected from such a grand guest roaster, III is very dynamic and I honestly wish I could have an easier time telling apart which track has which guest, since it's mostly just Tony Wakeford's voice on "Self Portrait With Halo And Snake" I can easily tell apart (though I may still be making an ass of myself by getting that wrong) [edit: I got it wrong]. Their inclusion does lead to a lot of mellower and ambient moments on the album, I mean the album itself starts with some ominous bassy noise and a choir before erupting into the noisy metal madness that it is, but I'm not gonna spoil it further, even though that track has already been out for a while, and also Tony Wakeford's presence on the second track should make the neofolk influence quite expected. But even the second and the third track do pick up quite a bit of heaviness after their respective neofolk and Have A Nice Life-ish drone, in a blend that feels natural and blends seamlessly. So much so that it feels like each track has a strong personality of its own, while still being part of something bigger.
It's clear that this is the best thing that Crowhurst have ever done. It's quite a big step from getting Eugene Robinson of Oxbow on a track on II to getting such an impressive roster and also not leaning solely on their star power and delivering such a cohesive and interesting record. But it still feels like there's so much more to be made, so many other guests to spice up future releases, so many other producers, and so on. While I hope it doesn't lead to a Sunn O))) situation where the band starts to feel unable to make engaging music without collaborating, I wouldn't mind seeing Crowhurst keep the less frequent album pace with impressive collaborations as long as they maintain this amazing quality (and he publishes one or two usual noise albums in between). I have tried to include this somewhere in the review, but instead you can read my interview with Jay and maybe some of the other interviews I linked in there as well.
Listen to whatever you can here.
||Written on 25.03.2019 by|
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