WarCrab are coming to get you! Not giant crustaceans, but the six piece Death Sludge outfit from Plymouth, UK whose original inspiration to form a band came into being on a trip to see Crowbar in 2010.
Three years on and a few line-up changes later and the culmination of their effort has resulted in this, their self titled, self released, debut full length album.
Musically they are influenced by a broad spectrum of Metal; Death, Black, Stoner and Classic but with the overall aim to keep the sound heavy, with an intense, sludgy and oppressively heavy groove that extends across the six tracks of the album, linking them nicely together. As full lengths go this is a compact release at just thirty four minutes long but there's a lot jammed into that time span and it's certainly an album you would happily give a couple of back to back spins.
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Sound wise, it's a brutally sonic, aural assault, particularly the shrill feedback on the extended opener of the longest track 'Spherical Acid World', which serves as an intense scene setter for the track and permeates the full seven minutes for a maximum sensory attack, a stand out track for its brutal factor alone.
They keep their playing style simple and stripped down and there is a density to the sound also which comes from being a larger sized outfit and having three skilfully utilised guitarists. The vocals are good, provided by one of the band's newer recruits, Kane Nelson, whose vocal mix of blackened deep growls and vitriolic hisses adds a dark intensity to the mix. The drum work is good also, not over bearing; it just gets down to the necessary business, no more and no less.
Across all the tracks, which range from a mid pace to slower doom rich pace, a dark oppressive prescience looms, emanating from the mix of the ever present, pounding, sludgy riffs and the intense dirty hypnotic groove. I thought that the tracks seem to get better the further in I got, with WarCrab finding their groove as the album progresses, particularly after the more adventurous guitar break at the end of the second track, the dark, ominous 'Return To Dust'. Happily there are no duff tracks either, all are fully listenable, which is always a bonus.
The final track 'Wither', despite the opening sound bite stating "Chaos reigns" has a slight chill out factor compared to the previous offerings, coming from the stoner quality of the guitar breaks, giving a slightly laidback feel and making it marginally less intense; a great album ender.
The cover artwork made me smile, the oversized crab looming with intended malice, an interesting choice and demonstrating, maybe a touch of humour too, but once you get to hear their music you know they are deadly serious in their intent.