The Crawling - Anatomy of LossWhen bands list their influences publicly, I’m apt to cross at least a few of those names off a list of potential name-drops. Whether or not those tributaries contributed to the intellectual process of music-making is irrelevant. Many bands resemble their idols only with a squint and a head-tilt. Yet The Crawling’s list of Bolt Thrower, Entombed, My Dying Bride, and Novembre reads like a playbill, each entry more accurate than the next. With big shoes to fill, can debut Anatomy of Loss anger/sadden all of its proud papas?

The Crawling’s brand of death/doom marries elements known for their compatibility, but with a typically unseen slant. Expectations of woebegone vignettes and plaintive melodies run parallel to death metal tropes not usually associated with the Peaceville Three and their ilk. The sad sack melodies, like those on “Poison Orange,” come across as beefed-up interpretations of My Dying Bride, occasionally flecked with Novembre and Draconian. Yet unlike MDB, the tempo very rarely reaches full-stop. Opener “An Immaculate Deception” sounds exactly as you’d expect, but rattles off at the pace of a band intent on holding your attention. Scalding gutturals have a touch of the extreme about them, and at times it’s easy to forget the “doom” portion of this double-D. Anatomy of Loss churns out Bolt Thrower grinds just as often as it depicts a world gone sad. “Poison Orange” flips front-end doom into back-half death without missing a beat, while spiraling sections of Swedish meatgrinder “All Our Failings” could fit an Entombed tracklist quite easily. Follow-up “The Right to Crawl” in turn cycles classic Katatonia and heated grind-and-chug, balancing the two with surprising capability.

Run times unsurprisingly trend upward as the album progresses, though The Crawling mercifully shy away from sprawling twelve-minute MDB odysseys. Unfortunately, the tracks show their length more often than not. That capable pairing on “The Right to Crawl” compels initially, as most riffs on the album do. But The Crawling push them too far, stretching four minutes into six. The pattern of turning good material rote via identical loops shows up time and again on Anatomy. “Violence, Vanity, and Neglect” suffers the most, as quality chunks are overshadowed by the band’s inability to simply end the song. Death passages serve as de facto breaks in the misery, but often fail to develop song structures that remain largely static. Most songs settle on one or two riffs and never let them go. To their credit, those riffs never feel tacked on and excel in short doses. You could crack your tooth on the well-hewn nugget of “All Our Failings.” It’s the perfect length for that type of limited riff-cycling.

The Crawling 2017

The gutturals show off quality pedigree, as expected from longtime members of the Northern Irish death circuit. Honey for Christ frontman Andy Clarke leads this classic three-piece, though bassist Stuart Rainey’s backing growls bolster the voicework. Though the lyrics may grate at times, there’s no denying the scathing effectiveness of the vocals. A complete absence of cleans sacrifices the genre’s trademark tenderness, but The Crawling get along quite well without it. Gary Beattie (Zombified) shows off significant range on the skins, playing to both sides of The Crawling’s coin. Despite some noticeable compression issues on my 128 kbps promo, Anatomy of Loss sounds great. Hefty guitar tones service the dichotomy of sorrow and hate equally, while Clarke’s production ensures each member of the trio is clear and contributory.

With résumés stretching as far back as the 90’s, The Crawling have surely been around the block once or twice. That experience shows in their ability to keep their debut focused and simple. Improvement and innovation may come with time, but for now, the band has a solid record they can hang their hat on. It might not reach the heights of their forebears, but Anatomy of Loss is surely a good start.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Grindscene Records
Websites: thecrawlingband.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/thecrawlingband
thecrawlingband.blogspot.co.uk
Releases Worldwide: April 7th, 2017

 

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  • Drew Music

    That’s what I’m’s talkin’s abouts! Their EP In Light of Dark Days was a beast in its own right, this was only ever gonna be awesome. Shame they aren’t doing a vinyl pressing, at least not that I could find. Either way, strong review and a strong band, this will probably rob my wallet and replenish my soul before too long.

  • Sean Sky

    I’m not sure I like when bands list influences. It’s similar to when bands are marketed as “the next big thing in xxxxx genre” where it kinda feels like they’re just trying to appeal to a demographic, as opposed to just making interesting music. Little hard to be original when you’re trying to sound like someone else.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    THE CRAWLING IN MY SKIIIIIIIIIIN !
    THESE WOUNDS, THEY WILL NOT HEEAAAAAL!

    • LExpoZiod

      Oh god. Flashback to 13 year old me thinking that song was the coolest shit in the world. Still as hilariously awful as ever.

      • brutal_sushi

        Right there with you!

    • Wilhelm

      Stinkin Fart

  • I couldn’t find the album on spotify yet, but…. Bloody hell! Even though the song watched on YT is nothing special… I really like it!
    I hope the album would be available soon for listening… I bet it will be very enjoyable

    • basenjibrian

      Bandcamp ahoy!

      • No song from the new album available yet, on Bandcamp. I’d already checked it out before. Just pre-order.

        • basenjibrian

          You’re right. I did buy the ep.

          • Yeah, I could do it too, but I haven’t been used to buy cds anymore since started my spotify’s premium account. I’m gonna wait the availability on the platform. According to bandcamp, album is out just today, so it’s not gonna be a long wait.

  • It’s good, but the riff density* is too low to keep me interested.

    * Riff density = song duration / no. of riffs

    • Dr. Wvrm

      I like that, can I poach that?

      • Uh, sure. Do I get a law named after me? ;)

        Other low riff density examples that actively harm my enjoyment of otherwise decent albums include Feared (each song only has 3-4 riffs), Swansong (compared to all other Carcass albums) and Nevermore’s The Obsidian Conspiracy

  • Wilhelm

    The song sounds as generic as an Amon Amarth song, and even though it ventures into doom territory for a minute, the vocal lines and mid tempo repetition are not charming in the least; very uncreative.

  • I quite liked what I was hearing for the first 2 minutes. Then when I got towards the end I realised that I had actually heard the entirety of this 6 minute song in the first 2 minutes.

    I like the style, but it needs something more.

  • Tom Hardy

    Nice review, but it’s rated a bit higher than I’d give it for the simple fact that their music in totality is monotonous until the point when they turn into a My Dying Bride knock off and still ruin it with em extra growly~effects heavy vocals that sound cheap. I’d be curious to watch em live to see those parts fail, essentially. Anywho, interesting band none the less, I’d never heard of em before and don’t think I will care for em moving forward.

  • junkyhead

    Definitely something memorable going on here. Excellent vocals while the drums not going over the top and the guitars doing enough to keep the pace! THE CRAWLING!

  • Elton Chagas

    What I heard in the first lines of the embedded track: “My only wish is to burn one…”