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While many artists simply recycle the work of better artists, Crowhurst, thankfully, treads a familiar but isolated path. Their self-titled full-length marries the tender yet weathered black metal of older A Pregnant Light with the abyssal strains of Lustmord, bringing to life a nervous union that will have you running your palms, slick with sweat, across your scalp by its end.

Comprised of seven songs, Crowhurst bears a suffocating presence that lifts its busy shroud throughout, pausing to linger on minimalist expansion. The album is streaming in full today via the band's Bandcamp. We have an ember below.

Even during its simplest parts, Crowhurst is fatiguing. Jay Gambit’s vocals hammer against a discomforting cocoon that wraps around the instruments. His croons and shrieks, even at their most inaudible, boast a particularly mournful nuance that flavors the smattering black metal with a human, organic quality.

A casual browsal of Crowhurst’s Bandcamp shows one busy outfit, and artist, counting Girl 27, Gambit’s solo project. The release can be sewn into one noisy, experimental tapestry, with the jagged black metal threads and bleak, electronic knittings coming together on this self-titled debut. As a self-titled, this is where Gambit and friends make that name a true reality, bringing together that extensive experimentation into one lush work. This is perhaps not a coincidence as it was produced by Jack Shirley, whose work includes, but certainly not limited to Deafheaven’s popular Sunbather, which fused black metal with traces of post-rock and shoegaze. Shirley’s production abilities coax a similar freshness from Crowhurst, with the results being less shiny than Sunbather, but no less unique.

The collection finds its deepest foothold on its fourth track, “It is the Mercy,” which plays like The Sisters of Mercy on the cusp of ritual suicide, with Andrew Eldritch-style baritones oozing caustically beneath desolate strumming and slight percussion. The song swells at its midsection, with those bartones taking a turn towards the animalistic, the sparse atmosphere electrifying, draining the mood’s desperation in favor of agitated sorrow.

The album loses a bit of its footing after “It is the Mercy,” with the fifth and sixth tracks eschewing much of the gloom that bolstered the preceding entries. These two tracks serve to bridge the harrowing black metal that permeates Crowhurst with the unevenly distributed ambience; the latter, when present, provides the album’s strongest moments.

The final track, “Luna Falsata,” is an aquatic nightmare, with the sounds plunged into pitch black fuzz, while Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson spews a fuming end time sermon. The guitars groan from under the noise like a drowned Sunn O))).

Bolstered by their intimidating back catalog, this self-titled work is summation of all that Crowhurst has accomplished to this point. This exhausting black metal and dark ambient collection is draining, with its ending being particularly stressful, making for a methodical, realized work in sonic torture.

—Bruce Hardt

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Crowhurst is available on April 10 via the band's bandcamp. Follow Crowhurst on Facebook.

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