Album Review – Crystal Spiders / Molt (2020)

Bang your heads to the debut album by this amazing American duo of doom, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals.

It didn’t take long for Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Hard Rock/Doom Metal unity Crystal Spiders to draw attention to their crushing fusion of heavy and groovy styles after their inception in 2018. Comprised of Brenna Leath (of Lightning Born) on vocals and bass and drummer Tradd Yancey, with the support of session guitarist Mike Deloatch and guest guitarist Mike Dean (of Corrosion of Conformity), who also produced the album, the band returns in full force in 2020 with their debut album Molt, following up on their highly acclaimed 2019 demo. Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Mastering Studio and featuring a stylish artwork by American tattoo artist Tyler Pennington, Molt showcases their deep devotion to riff-worship, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals and, therefore, being highly recommended to fuzz-addicted legions from all four corner of the earth.

The low-tuned, creepy bass by Brenna kicks off the Stoner Rock and Metal feast titled Trapped, with Tradd smashing his drums powerfully while the song’s  obscure lyrics are darkly declaimed by Brenna (“There’s no one out here, just wild dogs and dust / Fill up the empty space with unholy sound and deathly grace / There’s something slithering away on a greasy belly / We’re trapped here in this place, drying up like old blood”), whereas the title-track Molt is a faster and more dynamic Rock N’ Roll party led by Tradd’s classic beats while Mike and Brenna slash their stringed weapons in great fashion, being perfect for banging your head nonstop while the band kicks ass on stage at a rock pub anywhere in the world. After such breathtaking tune we have Tigerlilly, one of the three songs from their 2019 demo, getting back to an old school, Black Sabbat-inspired Doom Metal mode, with Tradd being once again unstoppable on drums, providing Brenna all she needs to shine with her piercing vocals and dirty bass jabs. And eerie, minimalist sounds permeate the air in the grim Chronic Sick, where the sluggish beats by Tradd together with the acid riffage by Mike generate a neck-breaking ambience, with Brenna once again mesmerizing us all with her potent voice.

It’s time to speed things up once again and ride with Crystal Spiders on a highway to hell in C.U.N. Hell, where it’s impressive how devilish and sexy Brenna’s voice can sound at the same time, while Tradd dictates the pace with his wicked beats, followed by Gutter, another lecture in Stoner Rock and Doom Metal by the duo, with Brenna being on fire with both her high-pitched screams and metallic, fuzzy bass, taking us all on a journey back to the glory of the 70’s. Then let’s embark on another thunder-driven Rock N’ Roll journey together with Crystal Spiders in The Call, where Brenna, Tradd and Mike are on absolute sync, consequently making our blood boil in the name of the riff, not to mention the song’s addictive guitar solos. In the tribalistic, hypnotic tune entitled Headhunters the talented Brenna steals the spotlight with her witch-like vocal lines, setting the tone for Fog, featuring the aforementioned Mike Dean and his visceral riffs, a bestial, dark and delicious way to end such powerful album of doom. It’s slow and atmospheric from start to finish, with Brenna, Mike and Tradd building a damned wall of sounds with their respective sonic weapons, dragging us all into their foggy and somber lair before all is said and done.

If you want to experience Molt in its entirety you can enjoy the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show Brenna and Tradd your honest support and admiration you should definitely purchase the album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Ripple Music’s BandCamp page or Big Cartel (in digipak CD or deluxe vinyl format), or simply click HERE to have access to all locations where you can buy or stream the excellent Molt. Hence, don’t forget to follow Crystal Spiders on Facebook and on Instagram, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright for many years to come. The name of the album itself is already very suggestive and points to an amazing future for Crystal Spiders, as if the duo has just shed their old feathers, making their way to a new growth stage in their career, and based on the high quality of the music found in Molt it looks like not even the sky is the limit for their doomed wings.

Best moments of the album: Molt and C.U.N. Hell and The Call.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Ripple Music

Track listing
1. Trapped 5:09
2. Molt 3:37
3. Tigerlilly 5:38
4. Chronic Sick 6:49
5. C.U.N. Hell 4:09
6. Gutter 3:58
7. The Call 5:47
8. Headhunters 2:26
9. Fog 6:14

Band members
Brenna Leath – vocals, bass
Tradd Yancey – drums, vocals

Guest musician
Mike Deloatch – guitars (session)
Mike Dean – guitars on “Fog”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.