We begin with something different today, and a whole bunch of familiar. Any band claiming to simultaneously be influenced by Bolt Thrower and My Dying Bride is bound to pique my interest. As is to be expected, The Crawling doesn’t really sound like either, nor do they sound like an amalgamation of the two – yet the comparison is apt, as long as it is The Dreadful Hours over Turn Loose The Swanzche.
Opener, “An Immaculate Deception” features Fredrik Norman-esque leads over trodding rhythm work that’d fit right in on any slightly-melodic death metal record before briefly slowing down to MDB regions only to speed up once more for a brief tremolo closing. Yet the tempo never drops below zero, the band instead offering beefed up hooks and choruses instead of world-halting-misery. The decision was wise, as it keeps The Crawling from banking on any particular influence, and gives a sound that is more recognizably their own.
The first half of “Poison Orange” hits in the face with the slowest, most rueful doom the band has to offer, alongside “Catatonic”, and switches to the most BT-esque mid tempo chug-riffs for the second. While very much a working song, it begins to unravel the bands weakness. Riffs, not the quality, but the quantity of them. Each song is usually built on two, or three, riffs and while the two first songs pass easy, this begins to degrade the trio closing Anatomy of Loss – a minute off of each, or an additional riff here and there, would have worked wonders. Though, in same breath, each song features enough hooks to dig in for good, on the first try and at 46 minutes, Anatomy of Loss doesn’t drag as an album. What the band loses in tenderness, featuring no cleans, they make up by making bassist Stuart Rainey double frontman Andy Clarke up now and then, and as stated, never stooping to funereal paces and speeding up sooner than later.
The Crawling features just the right amount of originality on top of their obvious influences, and their power trio formation leaves plenty of room for the slithering bass that completely makes up for the lack of riffs when the guitar goes noodling, which is obviously a bonus for someone whose panties seem to autonomously descend to ankle level at the merest mentions of “bass”. I, for one, am very interested at where will these scene veterans be able to take their new band.