Crowbar: Existence is Punishment


Existence is Punishment




Crowbar (Pavement )

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Matt Thomas (guitars), Craig Nunenmacher (drums), Kirk Windstein (guitars, vocals), Todd Strange (bass)


Recorded: Chalmette, Louisiana, 1992


Rating: 43/100 (learn more)

New Orleans has a long tradition of iconoclastic funeral music, with its parading brass bands and strutting second lines that sometimes strike outsiders as oddly bright and jaunty. But the sludge metal movement that came out of New Orleans in the early 1990s offered a corrective to all that. The dark, gloomy sound of bands such as Crowbar, Acid Bath and Eyehategod will quickly send the second line packing never to return. In a city known for party music, sludge metal fans created the closest thing to self-flagellation to be contained on a compact disk. "Existence is Punishment" captures this raw style in all its sludginess: lugubriously slow tempos, guitars played like welding equipment, and vocals so rough that, by comparison, Dr. John sounds ready to sing Puccini at La Scala. As an extra kicker, the lyric announces that the singer has found transcendent truth—hey, that alone should justify your $.99 download fee! No wonder this song was such a favorite with Beavis and Butthead, those astute champions of unsung talent, who stepped in to tout it when Downbeat pretended Crowbar didn't even exist. If, as this band promises, "existence is suffering," it might as well start with this song.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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