Paul Castles speaks to Irish trio The Crawling about their latest album
There are riffs on Wolves And The Hideous White that you have to hold on to for fear of what may happen if you let go. The dark strength and charred contours that sustain The Crawling’s smouldering second album rises from deep within the souls of the Irish trio. “The album title focuses on the breakdown of a family relationship,” explains singer Andy Clarke. “The wolves are the children that devour the man, and the hideous white is his bride, that destroys what happiness remains. It suited the album title as all the tracks are focused on relationship dysfunctions, and what people will do to remain with others – it just worked.”
While the bleak vulnerability seeps through all six tracks ‘Drowned In Shallow Water’ hangs heavier than most, plunging at times into My Dying Bride-like depths of despair. “It’s my favourite track,” says Andy. “It is based around the sudden realisation that someone one you love doesn’t feel the same way any longer. I think we’ve all been through it. The track explores the emotional turmoil that it brings; the doubts, questions, hatred, fear and the want to remove it from history and start again. Of course that’s impossible, and a lot of people tend to revisit the scenario over and over in their heads; which is completely pointless and simply causes repeated emotional unrest. It’s basically a track about the inability to accept the past is the past, and reliving it brings nothing but misery.”
Despite having chalked up numerous festival slots across Europe in the past couple of years – most recently Shellshock in Malta, Full Metal Mensa in Germany and Mammothfest in Brighton – The Crawling still run a tight ship, opting to produce the new album themselves. “Purely from an economical point of view it saves us a couple of thousand pounds,” says Andy. “We can invest that in video production, travel expenses, merchandise and gear. I’m also a complete control freak, so I’m not sure a producer would be able to stick me for any length of time,” he laughs. “My music is paramount, and I don’t know how I’d cope with ‘interference’. Don’t get me wrong, I would love the studio experience, and I could definitely do with some producer expertise – it can be a little stressful doing the whole thing on my own!”
Managing the production with Stuart Rainey (bass) and Gary Beattie (drums) hasn’t exactly held the Lisburn lads back so far agrees Andy, while there’s a collective feeling that this sophomore release has taken them to where they want to be at this moment in time. “I wanted this album to have a little more ‘bite’ so we put a bit more dirt on the bass, more grit into the guitars and really tried to add some more top end on the cymbal front. I’m really happy with how it came out, it’s pretty close to what was in my head,” adds Andy.
The new album cements The Crawling’s reputation as one of Ireland’s chief chug collaborators as anyone foolish enough to get caught in the crossfire of new song ‘Rancid Harmony’ will testify. These songs deserve an audience, and the next big one will be at the Limelight in Belfast on 9 March when they support Primordial.
“Playing live is my favourite part of being in a band,” says Andy. “I love being face to face with people and everyone getting into the music and meeting like-minded fans. I think we excel live and if we did it more often we would continue to improve. Sadly Ireland is an expensive ferry/aeroplane ticket away from many cities in the UK. We’re also restricted with holidays due to work and family commitment. It makes me sad sometimes to feel so restricted, like we’re tethered by a noose; it can be very frustrating. It simply forces me to think, be more creative, and keep our profile up in other ways.”