2015’s In Case You Missed: Crowhurst
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world He didn’t exist. The greatest trick long time noise producer Crowhurst (really Jay Gambit) ever pulled was assembling a band to release one of the best heavy records of 2015, then breaking up the band immediately after.
Crowhurst (the 2015 album, not the artist) has not been lacking for coverage. It received praise from Invisible Oranges, CVLT Nation, a personal favorite publication of mine Heathen Harvest, and the father of all heavy metal publications, Decibel Magazine. The album’s Bandcamp features a long list of succinct compliments, pulled from genre-wide coverage. However, it was only mentioned once on this site as far as searching our own site’s tags and a quick Google study would show. A couple of Toilet Ov Hell writers enjoyed it, as they passed on to me. By and large, it seems to have gone under the radar among our beloved community here.
Crowhurst is the syrupy danger of old Eyehategod records. Spiritually it’s sludge meets noise by way of The Body. It’s a nod to the blackened Swans worship of Cobalt’s seminal Gin (see: “It Is The Mercy“). It’s the menacing unpredictability of Oxbow; it’s no wonder noise rock figurehead Eugene Robinson makes an appearance on the final track. It’s an elaborate Masonic ritual conceived in darkness; it’s the cold animal precision of a pit of vipers.
Calling to mind Argentinian horror, album opener “Penumbra” sets the stage for Crowhurst over two minutes of churning doom riffs and fuzzed out noise effects. Gambit’s extensive experience working in noise and power electronics makes other subtle appearances during the album’s run. Crowhurst picks up over “A Precipice of Stone”, which features soaring guitar leads that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Ghost Bath album until they turn threatening before its end. It’s simultaneously elegant and devastating. Gambit’s vocals range from a man teetering on the brink of rainslick cobblestone, to an authoritative chant during “It Is The Mercy”. Each song piles on riff after flattening riff. The guitar work is inventive beyond your average doom or post-black record; check out the closing solo on “Black Oceans”.
“Luna Falsata”, is Crowhurst’s nail-biting finale. It’s a blown out nine minutes of subtle drums and tape effects, with the aforementioned Eugene Robinson delivering a tour de force, hellish sermon (source: Werner Herzog on the documentary Burden of Dreams). It breaks free from the pace set musically, but remains thematically consistent. Robinson proclaims our existences are cursed with such fervor it’s hard to imagine any other alternative. Enlisting Robinson for the album’s closer highlights the urgency on this record. It’s a bold statement, one that is not easily forgotten.
If you missed Crowhurst’s release, give it a listen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it listed among favorites at the demise of another year.