Noise’s loss, metal’s gain

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: April 10th, 2015
Label: Ivory Antler

Given founder, vocalist and electronics whiz Jay Gambit’s substantial history as an experimentalist, what’s most surprising about Crowhurst’s first release as a five-piece aren’t the Jack Shirley-recorded album’s unconventional aspects (which abound, subtly), but the band’s aptitude for suturing their adventurous bent to the greater body of metal proper. Instrumental opener “Penumbra” is pretty much straight-up, slow-as-fuck doom metal, enhanced toward the end with what sounds like a bunch of universes having a falling-apart competition. Skewing straighter still, black metal shuffle “A Precipice of Stone” offers a taste of guitarists Brian Reis and Johann Curie’s considerable powers as they whip up a mighty electrical storm around Gambit’s utilitarian rasp, and begs the question of who the hell plays the killer dissonant solo.

“Judgement” starts relatively delicate, but soon gains velocity and mass as Reis and Curie wrap garlands of tremolo-picked melody around drummer and bassist Eric Soth and Spencer Wessels’ propulsive triplets. Gambit saves his clean voice (think: old-school Michael Gira) for “This Is the Mercy”—far enough into the album to lend it a healthy measure of shock value. That kind of restraint is one of the things Crowhurst excel at: When’s the last time you heard a band save their best trick for last—as they do on “Lunar Falsata”—by unleashing secret weapon Eugene Robinson? In the course of outdoing himself (again) in the grandest style imaginable, the Oxbow vocalist closes an auspicious debut with the kind of tour de force many veterans couldn’t even imagine.

– Rod Smith
Review originally printed in the May 2015 issue (#127).