Summon the Crows – One More for the Gallows

Posted on April 4, 2011

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Southern Lord

4/12/2011

 

Summon the Crows could be from anywhere. The fact that they hail from the land of wilderness, snow and metal that’s obsessed with wilderness and snow (that’s Norway, kids) is really the most interesting thing about them, considering the kind of music they play. The press release for One More for the Gallows name drops revered crust icons Tragedy and Amebix, but this half-hour of power is more in line with the recent resurgence of Clandestine-era Entombed ripoffs that have been terrorizing shitty metal bars for the past few years. You know, the whole “we’re death metal but we get down with the D-beat” thing. It’s a hell of a lot of fun when done correctly, i.e. fist-pumping leads with just the right amount of melody and a drummer who doesn’t think a tom-tom is the navigation system in the band’s Econoline.

This trio’s debut full-length has hints of both those elements, but is plagued by the one thing that separates a solid opening act from a venue-razing, pit-stirring powerhouse: mediocre songwriting. Summon the Crows attempt to break from the conventions of their subgenre by getting thrashy with the proceedings, and the results on the opening title track are exciting. A cool snare roll leads into a killer breakneck tempo followed by an even more killer chugging breakdown that you could find on any recording from the early Bay Area scene. Unfortunately, things get somewhat repetitive from there. Follow-up track “The Slavedrivers of Ur” showcases some sweet fills and gnarly guitar squeals reminiscent of Swedish warriors Disfear, who are probably the best example of how to write the same song for an entire album and have every single one fucking rule. But man, even those guys don’t open two tracks in the exact same way like Summon the Crows do on “Beasts of the Night” and “Existence”’s one-two-three cymbal count and elongated riffing. I know this sound doesn’t lend itself to innovation, but if you’re going to go for the simplistic, riff-centric approach, make sure you’ve got enough riffs to make it work.

 

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