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Unearthing the Metal Underground: New England's Crawl Below

One-man black metal projects can mean many things, and in the case of New England’s Crawl Below, sole member “Charlie Sad Eyes” offers a plethora of styles and approaches under the umbrella of this entity. Blackened punk defined the debut full-length, “Welcome the Possession,” while subsequent full-lengths and a covers EP have scraped across a broad cross-section of styles including Lovecraftian-themed pub songs and doom gaze. Surely to the dismay of black metal purists, he even tackled the classic metallic hardcore band Hatebreed on a cover of “Filth,” a song that works surprisingly well - save for the out-of-place breakdown portions. In any event, Crawl Below returns with a new full-length, “Its Ministers on Earth,” a black/death doom offering that’s unsettling and yet certainly quite satisfying.

“The Daemon Damned Season” opens the release with the sounds of the tides and the ocean, appropriately setting the stage for the rest of the album and of the brooding, eight-minute song itself. On the flip-side, “Yet Foul From Their Eyes” carries forth the same energy yet builds up with more aggressive passages that do, in fact, subtly hint toward the aforementioned Hatebreed. The entire release boasts solid blackened shrieks and soaring, emotive melodic vocals. In addition to other bands, the interesting and eclectic musician who calls himself Mr. (ahem) Sad Eyes is also involved in a grindcore project entitled Animal Schoolbus that features his 9-year-old daughter. But with Crawl Below, he has been prolific, to say the least, having several albums since the entity’s inception in 2019. This suggests that we should be in store for much more interesting, left-field heavy music just around the bend.

JayHGorania's avatar

Jay H. Gorania is a long time metal journalist and sings for Trench Warfare. He also writes for Blabbermouth and Hellbound.ca and has in the past edited for Pit and written for Metal Maniacs, Unrestrained!, Hails and Horns, AMP and Outburn as well as other media outlets.

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