Crowhurst - Harsh Metal review

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Band: Crowhurst
Album: Harsh Metal
Release date: April 2021

01. Building The Killdozer
02. Stab Them
03. Power Is God
04. You Will Pay
05. One Step From Machine
06. Unrestrained
07. Mask Of Reality
08. Enemies Within
09. You
10. Deserve To Die
11. All Lined Up

The title ain't kidding. This is the harsh noise take on death metal.

I've been following Crowhurst for a while, from back when they were primarily the noise act of Jay Gambit. Projects with contributors, collaborations, and dives into other genres, more specifically into sludge and black metal, were already part of Crowhurst's catalog, but it seemed like something important happened after 2016, which is when I first came into contact with their music. Once a "dozen albums a year" act, 2017 saw no Crowhurst releases, and then two releases, one of which a collaboration with Gnaw Their Tongues, and then finally the release of the last part of Crowhurst's metal trilogy, which I reviewed, calling it "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." And Crowhurst has been moving since.

There's been a few collab records and EPs, but nothing too high profile, a goth rock band called Executioner's Mask, a Roadburn performance that I attended, and now suddenly on April Fools, they drop a record called Harsh Metal. For a noise band that often went in the harsh noise direction, this could either be a worthwhile experiment, or just a joke for the occasion. Thankfully, it was the former. Featuring Crowhurst as a 4-piece, including Ryan Wilson (who also worked with Jay in Executioner's Mask), it finds them attempting a death metal album. But naturally, it couldn't be just a death metal album. It's a harsh metal album, thus it is death metal through a harsh noise filter. And though a lot of death metal is noisy and filthy, nothing I heard sounds exactly like this.

First things first, this is quite a quiet album, in that you kinda have to turn the volume up. This did make me a bit skeptical that it might feature an audio jumpscare at some point, especially considering the release date, but thankfully that wasn't the case. With the volume properly adjusted, you're met with riffs and noise. Usually in hat order. The noise layer isn't that thick over the death metal base, so it isn't keeping any noise-adverse listener from not enjoying the riffs themselves. There are moments when the noise does take center stage, or moments where it feels more naturally integrated within the songs than you'd expect it to, but those are the exception. For the most part, Harsh Noise is an experiment that doesn't fuse the two sides too profoundly, but gives us a death metal album that doesn't sound like most death metal album, but peeling the noise layer doesn't leave anything too out there.

This isn't too say that the album is pure gimmick, or that there aren't attempts at integrating the two sounds. The riffs are definitely as crushing as one could possibly want OSDM riffs to be, even if they don't stand out necessarily, and what I did find to stand out were Jay's vocals, which can really show that Jay isn't a death metal vocalist, even if his harsh vocals can mold with death metal, which does add an extra element of uniqueness to the record. But in the end, I feel like I appreciate Harsh Metal for its idea rather than for its execution.


Written on 06.04.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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