Review by Paddy Gallagher for MPM
Due for release on 4th August 2023, The Crawling have returned with full length album number 3 “All Of This For Nothing”, a title that refers to the concept contained in the lyrical content; if there is to be a crumb of justice in the music industry The Crawling’s career won’t be all for nothing.
“March of the Worm” is just short of 6 minutes and opens proceedings with a slight Diamond Head feel to the riff which is backed by a marching rhythm on the snare. A time change and a slight Slayer influenced riff pounds our ears before Andy Clarke’s guttural vocals kick in:
“Hang yourself out to dry
Your agony, with nothing to give
We have shown you how to ameliorate
Winding arms around your neck
The march of the worm
A sickening sight, the pale return”
This is deep, this is heavy. The lyrics immediately laying down the narrative running through the album, that in the search for acceptance, a human is willing to sacrifice everything. Chugging riffage that’s infused with a knack for melody in a slow Doomy pounding way, before that marching snare directs the song to a final guttural roar.
“Another Vulture” starts off mellow with a nice passage of notes on Andy’s guitar before a tempo increase takes us to the first verse after which that mellow picked guitar recurs under the main riff leading us into the chorus.
The hypnotic “Thy Nazarene” which preceded the album with a stunning accompanying video is next, a haunting vocal melody that will stick in your head long after the song finishes:
“Where is that boy?
Who hides when he weeps
Where is that boy?
Whose lies I keep”
A fine piece of song writing. Kudos to Gary Beattie doing sterling work on the drumkit; a crucial part of the band’s sound:
“It’s not a though, dear……It’s a demon
Baptise your children
Am I the worst you’ve ever been?
4 minutes 20 seconds of intense, pained melody!
“Bound To the Negative”, the longest song on the album at 8 minutes 12 seconds starts with Andy educing tasty notes on the guitar accompanied by a mournful single note every few bars from Stuart Rainey’s bass. There’s that pacifying guitar again before the foundations shake at 1-minute 53 seconds as Andy lets the riff take over accompanied by his lyrics!
What we have here is not just Death / Doom; that’s too defining a label to put on The Crawling. The variation within a verse, within a chorus, displays a progressive edge to the song structures and the attention and though put in to the writing process. The execution of the songs live will tease any venues’ foundations, easy, soft, melodically lyrical and sudden intensity, heavy riffage that would simulate an earthquake.
Hi-Hats along with a note perfect guitar intro heralds the start of “Leaving the Skin” which is followed by “A Light We Cannot See”, brute heavy and angry with some clever time changes and riffs. Magnificent!
Final track “Sparrow” was originally released in 2021 as a limited-edition digipak single accompanied by a cover of Bjork’s “Play Dead”. A strong close out to the album with that penetrating riff behind Andy’s beseeching “I Sparrow”!
The musicianship on display is top notch, the rhythm section of Stuart Rainey and Gary Beattie a crucial component to the band’s sound providing the foundations for Andy Clarke to overlay with his considered guitar passages and considered lyrics.
Despair? Atmospheric? Dark? Yes! Well-crafted music with haunting vocals? Yes!
Make no mistake, this release reinforces the band’s upward trajectory in terms of song composition and continues their flair of producing quality products which are steeped in thought with every detail planned. Look at the cover art created by world renown Travis Smith; stunning!
If you are new to Andy, Stuart and Gary’s artistry and like your Paradise Lost or November’s Doom, give The Crawling a place in your collection. To those who already have the band’s previous releases, this will not disappoint you. An accomplished addition to the band’s body of work.