Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crowpath - Son Of Sulphur

I know it's not really pure technical death metal, but you can deal. I promise it'll be worth it.

Nothing in music makes me more sad than seeing a great, unique artist bite the dust when horribly generic bands are still going strong. This feeling wells up in my heart every time I think of Crowpath, a technical death metal/grindcore act from Sweden. They released their magnum opus, Son Of Sulphur, in 2005 and it's been one of my favorite albums since I first gave it a spin.

Schizophrenia is a frightening mental illness. It's unpredictable, can be weird or scary, and it runs in my family. Son Of Sulphur is what I imagine music set to a schizophrenic episode would be like: chaotic, frenzied, and amorphous. Each track on Son Of Sulphur plants a subtle idea, that any type or number of thoughts can spawn from. The album is a unique listen for that reason alone, and is extremely pissed off to boot.

Crowpath is more akin to something along the lines of Gigan than say a more traditional technical death metal band like Origin. They have all the aggression plus more, and Crowpath displays it copiously in a deafening array of furious riffing, scathing melodies, and rage-filled vocals. It's wonderfully dense music, and tracks like "Candies and Kerosene," the humorously-titled "Children Of Boredom" (isn't that accurate?), "Pigeonsmasher," and "Seed of Arson" do a great job of exemplifying that. One thing that this album has over it's comrades though? Variety.

Son Of Sulphur isn't limited to such slow tracks, and coming from a pseudo-grindcore band, it's interesting to hear how Crowpath approaches slower tracks like "The Lycanthrope" or closer "End In Water." They tackle this style successfully blending their more math-tinged tendencies with slow-paced, downtuned riffing. It's just as aggressive if a bit more riff-driven than vocally. It also provides Son Of Sulphur with a bizarre brooding atmosphere that seems to crawl its way into being as the album progresses, culminating with the eerie closer "End In Water." When the album finally reaches this point, water is indistinguishable from the blood flowing from your ears.

Musically the album transcends (no pretension meant; I hate this word - thanks Liturgy) normal grindcore instrumentation and decides to borrow heavily from mathcore and math rock with fast time-signature and tempo changes. It amounts to a flurry of ideas assaulting your head from all angles, ripping and tearing apart brain matter as you try to decipher the band's calculating malevolence. It's brilliant really. Okay, maybe now I'm getting a bit pretentious. I apologize, but for real Son Of Sulphur is fucking great.

The production on Son Of Sulphur is fantastic and compliments the mind-warping capability of the music perfectly. Guitars and vocals are dominant. With riffs like nails on a chalkboard, the album scars itself into your memory thanks to this brutal mixing. It's a shame that all this will eventually be forgotten since such a great band no longer exists, but Son Of Sulphur will always remain etched into my brain and carved into the very core of my being.

9.5 out of 10


1. Candles And Kerosene

2. The Will to Burn

3. Chases, Caught And Charged

4. Pigeonsmasher

5. Children Of Boredom

6. Self-Destructive Pessimist

7. Seed Of Arson

8. Picked Clean

9. The Lycanthrope

10.   Scab Coated Attraction

11.   Lights Out, Left For Dead

12.   End In Water

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