Crows – Beware Believers | Reviews

Crows exist in the shadows. With their brooding riffs and goth-rock soundscapes, the London four-piece are delivering a classic post-punk sound with a fresh coat of thick, black paint. Much like debut album ‘Silver Tongues’, ‘Beware Believers’ is richly atmospheric yet deeply intimate. Delving into themes of governmental decline, social division and self-reflection, a sinister vein of fury runs just beneath the surface – ‘Beware Believers’ is always a second away from snapping, every track sharp and pained.

Crows are able to physically sink you into a track, pulling you into their endless pit of noise. Opening track immediately drowns you in the noise; ‘Closer Still’ echoes out, riffs reverberating behind James Cox’s haunting post-punk vocals. There is a sense of tracks being recorded in vast, empty basement rooms. With tracks like ‘Only Time’ or ‘Garden of England’, the echoes only amplify the thrashy energy, tracks rendered raw and striking.

Softer tracks also benefit from this echoing realm Crows exist within; ‘Moderation’ is thick with despair, the layered call-and-response gradually soaking into your bones. ‘Meanwhile’s space-y breakdown is turned into an almost out-of-body experience, the echoing chamber of sound a disorientating wall of noise.

‘Beware Believers’ is also drenched in a thick air of gothic theatricality. Cox’s brooding performance is hypnotising, whether he be pondering the depths of mental health or the socio-political tensions of England. On tracks like the blistering ‘The Servant’, you can’t help but envision the performance as Cox cries out “I left God out in the rain” over wild, crashing drums. The entirety of ‘Room 156’ is entirely narrative-driven, delving into the story of American serial killer H. H. Holmes, dark calls of “broken things let the line in” creeping up your spine.

Lyrically, this record is also able to burrow its way deep into your skull. Cox’s vulnerability on track is stunning; stand-out track ‘Healing’ is chilling, rumbling deep within your guts as Cox utters out the poignant “I feel so lost without you / I feel so good without you.” The track is simultaneously a bitter snap of hatred and a poignant cry of despair. ‘Wild Eyed & Loathesome’ is equally as pained, with calls of “I try to scream myself awake again.”  

‘Beware Believers’ is a gloom-infused confessional; Crows yet again walk a tightrope of charged pessimism, balancing pain and vulnerability in equal measures and trying not to let either side drag them down. This record amplifies the theatricality and introspection that made ‘Silver Tongues’ so poignant, as well as delivering some absolutely mosh-worthy tracks. This is a release that shines brightest when at its darkest, and is sure to leave fans blissfully satisfied.

8/10

Words: Emily Swingle

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