“There is no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted to this idea that there is no real harmony as we have conceived it.”
Most of the time, it’d probably feel a bit weird starting an album review by analyzing of its final song, but in Crowhurst‘s case, it’s oddly fitting. The experimental black metal band’s new, self-titled album closes with “Luna Falsata,” a sprawling, noisy, nine-minute epic. In a terrific guest spot, Oxbow vocalist Eugene Robinson uses his full range to interpret and deliver a Werner Herzog monologue about the vileness and obscenity of the jungle, winding things down with the line above. In the context of Crowhurst—which uses every one of its excellent, 40-odd minutes to create that exact kind of misery and disharmony—it feels all too appropriate.
The new album marks Crowhurst’s first venture into metal, after four years and some 60+ albums as a noise and experimental electronic project from vocalist and mastermind Jay Gambit. (He’ll be continuing the electronic ventures under the new name Girl 27.) You’d hardly know it, though; the band sounds as tight and fully realized as many acts with twice their longevity. They may explore a range of sounds throughout this thing—at times, you’ll hear elements of everything from post-metal to doom and then some—but each and every one of them simply crushes you, as if their primary objective as a metal outfit was simply the physical and mental destruction of their listeners.
Even with a full band at his disposal, though, Gambit takes care not to fully abandon the experimental sounds of his solo days. “Luna Falsata” may be the best example of this, but we also hear this in the static echoes in the background of “Penumbra” or the delay and echo-effect driven instrumentation on “It is the Mercy.” By channeling these sounds against a metal backdrop, the band’s situated themselves perfectly in time. It’s both a nod back to the past and a look ahead at what’s to come from their new incarnation.
Crowhurst is, without question, an album best absorbed in full. A single track taken here or there might offer a nice injection of heaviness—to be fair, sometimes that’s all you need, and this thing does do heaviness quite well—but it pales in comparison to the full, 40-minute experience. Why deny yourself the full range of Gambit’s shrill roars, or his excursions into Gira-esque drone? Why miss out on the band’s sonic exploration, or Robinson’s haunting, sobering comedown, and your own personal trip into the jungle?
These aren’t questions you’d typically expect to ask about an act only taking its first steps into metal, but that’s just the level of quality Crowhurst’s given us with theirs. With this degree of success the first time out, it’s hard not to get excited about what the future holds for these guys.
Keep it heavy,