Crawl Below
Its Ministers on Earth

Potentially the greatest perk of writing for a metal site (if you call what I do writing) is getting to connect with underground artists such as Crawl Below’s Charlie Sad Eyes. Not long after his previous album and personal year-end lister, 9 Mile Square was released, he mentioned to me that the next Crawl Below had already been recorded, is totally different, is death doom, and includes almost zero clean vocals.

He’s no liar. He’s also quite adept at writing exceptional opening tracks, which is the case with “The Daemon Damned Season” on his newest offering, Its Ministers on Earth. Sure, it’s lengthy at over 8 minutes, but that does include a short atmospheric intro, before getting into a stomping riff, complete with audible and excellent bass. The drums sound excellent here, too. It is a significant amount of time before the vocals kick in, which they do at a little less than the 3-minute mark. Also, they are all growls… until the chorus. Even here, they are accented by growls in the background.

The second track, “Red Fell the Vapours,” is immediately heavier, which takes away nothing from the opener. The first minute is almost straightforward death metal. A bit of a different vocal approach with some higher pitched screaming takes over, along with some whispers. Despite the chosen genre, there is always variety within this man’s music, including some dissonant chords, and an almost crawling black metal tremolo lead.

Perhaps the most vicious track here is track 5, which is also the longest, called “Will Rot the Base Chains.” Firstly; What will rot the base chains, good sir? Secondly, calling it the most vicious only applies to the first half, as clean vocals come in during the second. These clean vocals have a more bombastic feel than the previous album. This is especially true here, and on the previous track “Yet Foul from Their Eyes.” Of course, when a track nears 9 minutes, multiple changes occur. The final two minutes have some chanting background vocals, which do conjure thoughts of a dungeon, so that title makes sense.

After another interlude of sorts, the closer, “And Deep in the Worm” begins, which likely refers to tequila or sex with Dennis Rodman. Layered vocals and somewhat clean guitars last until 3 minutes in. This track has more of an upbeat core. As compared to some of the others, of course. That’s no insult. It’s just the way of death doom. Of course, an upbeat tempo here is all relative. There’s certainly no thrash to be found. This last track can aptly be described as dynamic, which certainly also describes the album as a whole.

It’s no surprise that I’m really digging this. I’m not quite as on board with it as I am 9 Mile Square, but that album had the element of surprise going for it as I had never heard Crawl Below, nor spoken with Mr. Sad Eyes before. While this is excellent, and a great start to the year for death-doom for me, I only have a few words of advice; start releasing your albums a little bit later in the year! Not that I am opposed to having another great record, but albums released at the beginning of the year frequently get lost/missed when it comes to year-end list time, and that’s a damned shame with a talented, prolific artist. Keep up the great work, sir!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
January 13th, 2022


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