Crawl Below
9 Mile Square   

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way immediately. The man behind Crawl Below goes by the surname of Charlie Sad Eyes. Now, if you’re finished being pretentious and judging a book by its cover, go ahead and push up those black framed glasses. There’s work to do.

By work, I mean reviewing, baby. You can probably guess this album is going to be of the death doom variety based on that surname. Well, you’re not wrong, as that is certainly the base for the proceedings here, but there’s a little more to it than that. For what it’s worth, Mr. Sad Eyes himself describes it as post metal. The lines are certainly blurred when it comes to sub-genres anyway, so let’s just call it post-death-doom or whatever.

“Feed the Towers Above the Trees” is the opener, and it’s a good one.  It’s definitely a bit of a slow mover at over 6 minutes long, but it moves indeed. With about 3 minutes left is when it finally takes off, providing us with some sultry vocals courtesy of the refrain “You cut yourself, but the blood is not your own.” This is a great track to open and is going to be an early contender for song of the year. I find myself singing it often.

Speaking of “singing,” the opening riff for track 3, which is called “Kingdom of the Ruined” sounds very, let’s saying Alice in Chains-y. Maybe it’s just me, but if you don’t think that opening riff sounds like “Man in the Box” a little, I’ll slap you right in the penis. Although, I think it’s mostly just the crunchiness of the guitar tone that brings out that characteristic. Regardless, that riff aside, this is another standout, strong track worthy of mention.

The last two tracks, “Tarnished the Name” and “9 Mile Square” do nothing to slow the momentum of this banger. The weeping, melancholic, gothic chorus carry the former. They do the same for the latter, but I must admit the final track does drag a little, but not much… Basically in that “you’ve murdered someone, start to drag the body, then realize you don’t want to leave any marks, so you pick it up” kind of way. Wait. Has that only ever happened to just me? Shit. So, anyway…

Look… I don’t want to oversell this because it’s very early in the year, but this album is killer. Get past some of the, let’s say “aesthetic” name choices and give it a go. The one criticism to be made is that the pace stays the same throughout. However, the album is 36 minutes and 6 tracks, so it’s not long enough to wear out its welcome. In fact, it’s quite short for a death doom or post metal album. I doubt you’ll be disappointed because this is some solid and even frequently stellar death doom… or post metal. Whatever you want to call it, it’s worth your time, and a lovely start to 2021. I’m buying it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
February 5th, 2021

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