Review: Crawl – This Sad Cadav’r

This sad cadav'r.jpg

Written by Brett Kihlmire

Kicking off the album is the 15 minute track titled simply as ‘I.’ For the time investment, it’s really not worth sitting through as the first four minutes is just spooky ambient sound. At about four and half minutes a loud, piercing mechanical shriek captures your attention as a machine fires up. The music starts up a few seconds later with a deep, dark gloomy atmosphere coupled by low churning guitars, splashing symbols and demonic, incoherent growling. For the next two and a half minutes it’s just grimy synths, low, almost inaudible rhythms and growling until the 11 minute mark when it just fades into white noise before a mechanical strikes on the drums followed by an eerie wind. Though it’s not quite what I’d call a pleasurable musical experience, ‘I’ would be great in a horror film.

I’ll be honest, ‘I’ left me pretty confused as to what I was listening to. Fortunately, ‘II’ is a little more heavy metal with its approach. This one brings back the raspy, demonic growls, but cranks up the heaviness thanks to liberal cymbal crashes and heavily distorted guitars. There’s really no rhythm going on here as the guitars just kind of vibrate on an open chord, or so the distortion makes it seem, but it’s a step in the right direction. And like its predecessor, this is an epic length tune with a run time of eight and a half minutes, though I struggled to make my way through it due to Crawl’s more cinematic, less musical approach to the song.
When ‘III’ begins we’re over 23 minutes into this album and still yearning for something more than just heavily distorted guitars and snarly vocals over a grim atmosphere. Fortunately, ‘III’ tries to make amends by cranking up the heaviness even further and giving a delivering a decent rhythm section. This one has much more of a black metal vibe than rest thanks to its structure, but it still fails to deliver what black and doom fans are craving. On a positive note, it does switch things up a little bit by throwing in some extra atmospheric elements and shrieking guitar parts, but comes up a little too late.

While it’s clearly a black metal album in spirit, Crawl’s This Sad Cadav’r has just the atmospheric and vocal elements of the genre. The guitars and rhythm section are rather underwhelming thanks the lack of ripping riffs and a rhythmic beat. Though it won’t turn too many heads in the scene, This Sad Cadav’r would be perfect as a horror movie soundtrack. And who knows, maybe that’s what Crawl was aiming for. 5/10

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