Sometimes, when I first listen to an album, all kinds of different things pop-up in my head, little scenes, sometimes cinematic, sometimes joyful and sometimes things like the opening paragraph of this review. It usually depends on the nature of the album I'm listening to, which in this case is indeed something dark, haunting and frightening. The album is named 'II' and is the latest effort of American avant-garde post-blackened doom noise metal act Crowhurst. The band started as a noise act but gradually evolved into whatever it is now. Noise and soundscapes still are important elements in their music but the whole thing delves deep into the black metal scene. Plus, there is plenty of room for influences from sludge or post-metal, doom and industrial too.
The album opens with an instrumental track, 'Cold Sweat' which somewhat sets the tone. From the very beginning it becomes clear that this is not a commonplace black metal act. The tempo is slow, torpid even, and the guitars make a shitload of noise. On 'Take This Pain Away' the typical blackened screams appear over an equally bleak, slow and grinding piece of music. This is utter despair and utter madness, this is brilliant. 'The End' is also a slow track, but it feels more like a blackened Fields Of The Nephilim or Sisters Of Mercy track, mainly because of the clean vocals. And here too, when the extremes kick in, this monsters feasts on blast beats, eerie atmospheric elements and sheer aggression. You might see this as a mix of goth-rock Tiamat and Blut Aus Nord, or something like that.
But there are more surprises, ever heard a crushing blackened industrial noise rock version of Nirvana? Well, 'No Saviours' is such a song and it rocks. Perhaps this is my favorite track on this album, but I'm not sure. Every song here is an extreme adventure, especially 'Dried Blood and Old Earth' which closes the album in style. This monster is pretty much an "all of the above", include the one song I didn't mention yet, the punishing depressive blackened sludge metal anthem 'Fractured Lung'. This is an unbelievable album, a relentless piece of extreme music, regardless of genres. I absolutely recommend it to all of you who are looking for the bleakest and most obscure sounds out there. This is an absolute gem...