Review: “Horizon” by Crowdown

It’s not often that a debut EP will have as solid a team behind it as this but “Horizon” was recorded and mixed at Grindlab Studios in Vienna, Austria with Harry Gandler, also know for his work as the guitarist of Mastic Scum before being mastered by Patrick W. Engel who produced albums with Heaven Shall Burn for a decade between 2000 and 2010 at the Temple of Disharmony Studio located in Bamberg, Germany. The aim of that was to use their combined experience and expertise to give the work of Austrian Groove Metal quartet Crowdown a whole other depth of sound as they tell tales from the dark side of human emotions that weave together a story of rage, loss and despair…

…and while it’s not a concept release “Horizon” certainly has consistent threads of lyrical themes running through its very fabric, something that you don’t necessarily expect from a band who would probably have been labelled Metalcore in 2003 but are essentially a blend of Hardcore and Thrash characterised by ample breakdowns, thunderous percussion and violently aggressive vocals. As you might expect, “Welcome To Crows’ Land” serves as a call to the pit, a staple Hardcore intro before things really kick off with “Cold” when the breakdowns hit like a tow truck smashing into the back of the broken down car on the side of the road and driving it into the ditch, a powerhouse opening and a real statement piece. Throught the record riffs serve to add weight and gravity to the integrity of the gritty lyrics that will satisfy those in need with chunky staccato riffage from Mattl Schreiner in an old school guitar tone that gives everything a slightly dated feel, which is by no means a bad thing. “Adrenaline” then goes left, changing the approach of the attack with a Stuck Mojo vibe with vocalist Maggo Wenzel offering up some rap screams that have a classic 80’s Hardcore nostalgia about them, coupled with the earlier bark while dropping out some of the one off guttural roar moments. Pati Jay then adds in some bombastic bass lines and you have something that could have rivalled the likes of “Punishment” by Biohazard had it been released at the time and sounds like it was inspired by it along with your classics like Suicidal Tendencies and Agonistic Front. Those accented vocals are changed up once more for “America The Hateful“, an unflinching warning shot at the US with plentiful thunderous groove, before it’s time for a two step with the familiar riffs of pre-release single “Generation Of The Lost” that continues the high energy with another gloomy lyric about an unforgiving World as the sky turns to black as a swarm of crows descend to scavenge you eyes. “Worship The Sick” then has an arty spoken word in it’s rampaging whirlwind of percussive battery from Bünni Haas, even finding time for a blastbeat passage in the finale of a more atmospheric piece that has some far more sinister riffage than anything that went before. As an EP “Horizon” gets better as it plays through and shows plenty of promise for where this band could go given the opportunity… [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Welcome To Crows’ Land
  2. Cold
  3. Adrenaline
  4. Scars
  5. America The Hateful
  6. Generation Of The Lost
  7. Worship The Sick

Horizon” by Crowdown is out 30th November 2021 via Sliptrick Records

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