Crowbar – “Odd Fellows Rest”

dB HoF No. 151

Label: Mayhem
Release date: July 6, 1998

By 1998, New Orleans metal heavyweights Crowbar had already released four fantastic sludge albums. But when it came time to start writing their fifth, the band knew they were on to something different. And it turned out to be a behemoth of an album, Odd Fellows Rest, the sound of a band no longer content to just crush, crush, crush, Crowbar now decimated the listener through a bit of subtlety, a touch of atmosphere and a dose of maturity.

Here the band learned how to use shades and hues to obliterate as opposed to what they had done—very well, mind you—for their first four albums, which was annihilate by brute force alone. Plus, two words: “Planets” and “Collide.” As close to sludge metal will ever get to having an anthem, the song was a massive declaration of intent, starting off the album (after a powerful intro) with an alarmingly melodic touch, but still managing to hit heavier than any song from their four previous efforts.

Add in a new guitarist—Sammy Duet of Acid Bath—and the band—also consisting of vocalist/guitarist Kirk Windstein, bassist Todd Strange and drummer Jimmy Bower—were on fire, the chemistry through the roof, the sounds coming out of them fresh and invigorating for the late ’90s metal scene. It’s one of those rare moments where you can hear how good a band felt together while listening to it. Which is somewhat surprising, as some of the members admitted to us in the interviews that follow, they were more than a little apprehensive about the new direction this album was taking.

Then there’s the matter of Metallica, who would bring Odd Fellows Rest back in the metal collective consciousness in 2016, with the release of their Hardwired… to Self-Destruct album, the cover of which looked more than a little familiar to Crowbar fans (read on to get the straight story).

It’s an honor to finally place Odd Fellows Rest where it belongs, sharing war stories and rubbing shoulders with the best albums in metal’s history in our Hall of Fame; make no mistake, within underground metal, within sludge—and within metal as a whole—this album is undeniable. Like a planet slowly making its way toward Earth, all you can do as a listener is stare in silent appreciation at its overwhelming hugeness, at the power it contains, until you’re blinded by its beauty. And then it turns everything to black.

– Greg Pratt

Got to get more Crowbar? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with all members on Odd Fellows Rest, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.