Crawl – Crawl Demo (self-released, 12 October 2012)
So who’s in the mood for some heavy doom with a nice dose of southern sludge??
Don’t bother answering that; it was a rhetorical question. Here we go…
There have been a few bands called Crawl over the years, but this one formed in Atlanta, in spring 2012. Most of what I hear coming out of Georgia nowadays is rather fuzzy and stonery; it’s clear these guys draw from SOME of the same influences as their fellow statesmen, but they also incorporate some darker elements of west coast doom and the weightiness of gulf coast sludge, for an amalgam that’s definitely worth checking out.
The first time I heard of this band was when one of their songs — “Butchers Hollar” — appeared on the Doommantia Vol. 1 benefit compilation for Ed Barnard. (An incredible collection of music for a criminally low price, plus all the proceeds go towards helping out a guy who really deserves it, so there really isn’t any excuse if you haven’t bought it yet! Check it out!)
Anyway, a few months later, I learned that Crawl had released a self-titled demo around the same time as the compilation, so I knew I had to give that a listen, too.
Opening track “Hymn to Life” is reminiscent of the Bell Witch demo, since they both consist of sampled dialogue over a minimal background. Unlike Bell Witch‘s “Beneath the Mask,” which uses Vincent Price‘s Masque of the Red Death, Crawl have borrowed from a somewhat more obscure source — as neither I nor Google were able to determine its origin.
The next two songs, “Walkin’ Dead” and “Butchers Hollar” both bring the fuzzy riffs in all their down-tuned glory. One of the highlights of this demo is the drums: they feel very free and loose, sometimes meandering just slightly behind the beat.
“Freedom at Dawn” is the track that most caught my attention — starting out with an up-tempo, punky, crossover-thrash sort of vibe in the drums, the band suddenly switches to a bass-heavy sludgefest, and then back. Never did I think a single song could remind me so much of Broken Bones and Crowbar, but to make the transition so seamlessly! To top it all off, throughout the song’s last minute, they layer deep, didgeridoo-like vocals (which sound a lot like the chanting of The Dark Crystal‘s Mystics!), putting awesome icing on what was already a pretty great cake.
Listen or download here: