Crawl – Rituals (Transcending Obscurity)

Tuesday, 14th August 2018
Rating: 7.5/10

You can’t keep a good dog down, but sometimes you can teach them a few new tricks from time to time. Crawl is the latest batch of Swedes to hit up what their elders accomplished so well about 30 years ago, the timeless art of Swedish death metal of course. But in keeping with the opening, Crawl may indeed worship at the altar of Entombed et al, but they do inject some hardcore spirit into the mix.

In many regards, this is exactly what you’d expect it to be like, with plenty of piss and vinegar soaking through each strum of the HM-2 riffs that buzz with all their glory. As with the strongest of this particular ilk, it’s not so much about innovation as making it purely energetic and playful. Consider Crawl a winner in this regard, as the punchy tracks (most burning up in the 2-3 minute range) never outstay their welcome, while giving at least 2-3 hooky riffs to bite into. It’s catchy, but not overtly so – the type of thing you can come back to for the energy itself, or that one riff that keeps getting stuck in your head (currently it’s slow bruising ones of “Trail of Traitors” and the peppy driving ones of “Cowards”). But the one piece that they have added in to stay away from the purely old school death metal crowd is a taste of hardcore and crust. Some d-beats here and there, along with some straight-ahead hardcore aggression melds well with this sort of material, even if it’s becoming more in fashion to do so. Lastly the production is just as filthy as you’d like, but no one is going to mistake it for a pure worship of the old – the mix of crunch and clarity is just what’s needed.

A solid full-length debut from Crawl, and one that is bound to please fans of the sound. It’s tweaked just enough to make it seem like less of a clone, but has all of the necessary ingredients to ensure that Rituals is a rollicking experience.

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