"Behind the Blackest Tears"


01. Enlightened to Extinction
02. God's Law In the Devil's Land
03. Monuments of Ash
04. Behind the Blackest Tears
05. Envision the Divide
06. From Heroes to Dust
07. Along the Path to Ruin
08. With Barely a Breath
09. The Death We Owe
10. Sleeping Beast
11. Torchlight Procession
12. Salvation Denied

RATING: 7/10

What did you think it was gonna sound like? A collaboration between hardcore mogul Jamey Jasta and last living Ent Kirk Windstein? A HATEBREED and CROWBAR mashup? Yeah, pretty much. It's a bit more CROWBAR riffing and soulful Nola doom-rock than it is hardcore, although they do kick up the tempos and raise hell in a few places. For the most part, though, as has been pointed out elsewhere, it sounds like Windstein wrote a record and then Jasta came down and laid some guest vocals on it.

Even if that was 100% the case, though (and I'm sure it's not), would that be a bad thing? For some reason, even as burnouts nationwide continue to cream their ripped jeans over DOWN, CROWBAR's profile seems lower and lower as the years roll by. Getting a generation of HATEBREEED fans to check out CROWBAR's discography, especially their slept-on newer records, would be a noble goal all by itself. And who knows? Not that Jasta's a kid any more, but his comparatively youthful energy and undeniable work ethic and enthusiasm probably gave Old Man Windstein as much juice as their songwriting collaboration did, and got him to turn in a batch of sludgy, but uptempo and hungry, tunes for the two to duet over.

And the end result is... well... solid. It's not amazing, or earth-shattering, and it doesn't trump either man's main band. It's a weighty, heavy, likable bunch of tunes with a few bad-ass parts, a couple memorable choruses... again, it's solid. I know that doesn't sound like a dazzling endorsement — it's one of those cases where if it was anyone else, it'd be a revelation from out of nowhere. The first reaction, though, given the pedigrees involved, is that KINGDOM OF SORROW might be a little underwhelming. A lot of it seems like textbook CROWBAR riffs recycled or lightly modified to get from point A to point B, the kind of songs that Windstein can probably write in his sleep, but not on par with either man's best work.

But give it some listens, let it settle in, and you'll come to enjoy it exactly for what it is. It's a side project — a mutual appreciation society between two iconic musicians, neither of which is gonna quit his day job over it. But the tunes are good, the vibe is tough, the low-end Nola throb and the hardcore rant shine through, and at the end of the day, it's a satisfying record.


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