Here and there, on isolated places near the icy river, the few who survived the eruption form tribes, each with their own rituals of mourning, of rebirth and of despair. On the tempo of the repetitive drone, they dance. Some bang on drums while others perform these eerie rituals around a huge fire, harshly screaming as if it were an attempt to blast the ash out of their lungs.
Maybe my imagination is a bit too vivid, I know. Yet, some albums do have this effect on me and I'm sure I can't be the only one. These albums work inspiring, create worlds and scenery and adventures, or at least help me create them. In this particular case, the ending of the massive track 'Maelstrom' and the beginning and ending of follower 'Descending Ladders' made me imagine that gargantuan glacier, sluggishly rolling over what was once called "home" by some people. The feelings of despair and mourning are also very much present in these tracks, mainly in the vocals. Finally, opener 'Strong Eye' could somehow indeed be seen as the eruption and the sky-blackening ash clouds that follow.
The album comes from Dutch sludge horde Ortega, who have been working on their thick, dark and pulsating sludge metal since 2007. With this new album, they clearly aim for a spot among the heaviest bands on earth. Yet, they don't seem to be satisfied by just being intensely heavy. They also add a touch of vintage psychedelic doom to their sound. 'Crows' thrives on these monolithic riffs and effective drums. Of course, since this is a sludge metal act, you can expect some fierce vocals, often reaching a certain level of mental insanity. Perhaps it's true, some people have the choice to either start a band or end up in some kind of institute. I guess it's safe to say that Ortega made the right choice.
So, if you're a fan of intense doom and sludge metal, and not weary of a little slab of post-metal, you have to add this album to your collection. It will happily help bend your shelf when you place it among you collection of Yob, Conan, Eyehategod and all the other heavyweights in this scene. Perhaps, your imagination will go crazy too but if not, don't worry, you'll still be able to headbang yourself into a trance...