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61joRfQfQ2L. SL160 It’s been six years since the release of CROWBAR’s last studio album, and now with SEVER THE WICKED HAND (out February 8, 2011 via eOne Music) the band could easily deliver this album with a message: this album has been worth the wait.

One of the premiere representatives of the sludge movement, SEVER THE WICKED HAND is a punch to the gut, just the way it should be. From the opening notes of “Isolation (Desperation)” the band cuts a signature groove that is unsurpassed among their peers. Kirk Windstein (also of DOWN and KINGDOM OF SORROW) is unmistakable in his vocal delivery, which takes center stage as a driving force in the band.

Video: CROWBAR – “The Cemetery Angels”

While the opening track bears a chorus that should send some hardcore kids falling to their knees, there’s some real gems throughout the album with “Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth,” “As I Become One,” and “Protectors of the Shrine” emerging as standouts. Figure in the melodic “A Farwell to Misery,” which provides an ambient break near the album’s mid section, and the brutal “Cleanse Me, Heal Me” as one of the album’s third-act highlights, and you have one hell of an album.

With CROWBAR set to embark on the METALLIANCE Tour alongside HELMET and SAINT VITUS, here’s hoping that they (along with their tourmates) can reach some new audiences that have yet to experience their music – opening the door for a new generation of listeners to embrace one of metal’s true workhorse bands, another that has never really gotten the recognition that they so rightfully deserve

Rating: 4/5

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