10 April 2015 (Ivory Antler Publishing and Recording)
By Joe DeBonis
This is a punishing album. It berates and annihilates and everything in between, just like a good noise/metal album should. Yet, there is a certain amount of accessibility provided by the melodic and sometimes almost gentle guitar riffs that float amongst each song. Metal is known for trying to berate the listener in every imaginable way, and due to the small amount of time Crowhurst takes to break from that idea earn them their genre billing of “experimental.” When in reality, this kind of accessible metal as I will call it is something that is starting to gain a much larger following and fan base. Thanks to the release of Sunbather in 2013, the general musical community began to find parts of metal they could stand. It helped that there always was a guitar part that was equal parts indie yet sinisterly melodic. Deafheaven was the perfect compromise for a lot of music fans ready to take the step towards accepting more metal into their lives, and thanks to them, Crowhurst has a real shot at becoming something huge because what they are doing is working along the lines of Deafheaven, but pushing their limits a bit more to find a more punishing sound.
“It Is The Mercy” is a song that battles the stereotypes of metal while also incorporating what makes metal so vibrant and spectacular to listen to. The intro is very slow, with audible chanting lyrics mixed with a guitar part coming in on the off beats. Most people could hear something like that and sit through it. It is delicately powerful but as it builds, it retains its fragility until Jay Gambit, the lead vocalist comes in with his grungiest snarl of the album. With the perfect melding of the two worlds the album is trying to connect with, this song represents this band perfectly. Metal is a genre of music that so many people wish they knew more about and listen to, but are at times truly put off by the aggressive nature of the music. Bands like Deafheaven and Crowhurst are helping to bridge that gap between fans that can not handle an album of screaming and withering noise but are ready for little breaks between that volume that true metal is.
Jack Shirley, the same guy that helped produce work for Deafheaven is also the producer for this project. His work is clearly all over the record as the vocals and noise of the guitar and drums is mixed perfectly with the atmospheric guitar riffs that permeate a lot of the tracks. Shirley obviously knows how to mix the two ideas and his ability to make such a dark and foreboding sound come off as both open yet potent is a true skill.
Crowhurst is a true bright spot amongst the up and coming metal scene. Their ability to incorporate so many influences and styles of music; from a shoegazy style of guitar playing at times, to the atmospheric guitar riffs, to the true metal screams and drum beats, the band touches on a lot of ideas all in the span of seven songs. The idea of creating a new take on metal that not only retains its essence but also connects with a broader audience is a true talent and one Crowhurst utilizes to perfection.
Rating: Loved It