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Zebadiah Crowe – Host Rider Award winner

Zebadiah Crowe
Host Rider
by Gary Hernandez at 03 August 2020, 12:56 PM

Some people listen to Metal to exorcise their demons; others to exercise them. ZEBADIAH CROWE offers music to satisfy both. At the intersection of Industrial, Grindcore, Black, Thrash, and Punk (okay, that’s more of a bomb site than juncture) the duo out of Hertfordshire, UK have perfected a brutal vision of Extreme Metal. Since their inception in 2006, they have shared that vision with the world on one demo, two splits, and three full-length albums, the latest, “Host Rider,” released on June 15, 2020.

It’s been a long seven years since ZEBADIAH CROWE unleashed new material, though both Forrrrthen and The Horrid have been keeping busy with other projects. As they have said in interviews, they weren’t dead, “just sleeping.” If that’s the case, then “Host Rider” may be the remnant of the Cthulhuian nightmares they dreamed during their slumber. It’s tersely evil, weirdly hypnotic, and insidiously unforgettable.

While the album comprises only seven tracks across twenty-seven minutes, its intensity makes up for its brevity. But the virtue of its ruthless assault isn’t the only feature that makes this album so strong. First, there is an overriding, infectious groove to these tracks that is downright compelling. Tracks like “Knucklebones,” “A Tincture Of Malice,” and “Godblind And Destitute” will bully their way into your high rotation, scare off the regulars, and drink all your Spirytus Rektyfikowany, absinthe, and Everclear in that order. The unrelenting tempo, double-fisted riffs, and gargantuan keyboard drops are just too good.

Second, while some of the tracks come at you like a demonic locomotive, over half of them have morbidly curious intros or outros that either put you on edge with anticipation (e.g. “Godblind And Destitute”) or leave you wondering what the hell just happened (e.g. “A Horror To The Eyes Of Saintly Men”). This aesthetic adds to the lyrical and thematic elements of horror and madness (inspired by Poe, Lovecraft, and Barker) the band so well evokes.

Third, when did keyboards become this hyper-charged? When The Horrid falls on the keys, the doors of my house buckle. Along those lines, his drum work on this album is also impressive. At times there is a primitive percussion element at play that suggests a South American influence. At others, it’s a furious but controlled rampage behind the kit (albeit programmed) that, combined with the subsonic bass overrides, will slaughter your woofers and bury your db meters permanently in the red.

It’s a cliché to call out end-of-year lists in the middle of the year, but “Host Rider” is definitely a contender. The sleep is over my friends. ZEBADIAH CROWE is back, and we should all be thrilled and very, very afraid.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Knucklebones
2. A Tincture Of Malice
3. Mantel Of Nails And Orphan Skin
4. The Neon Goat Of Crimson Grief
5. A Horror To The Eyes Of Saintly Men
6. Godblind And Destitute
7. Wormhavens Dance
Forrrrthen – Guitars
The Horrid – Vocals, bass, drum programming
Record Label: Lore Breaker Records


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Edited 14 June 2021

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