The sound of Cleveland's Craw, like that of so many other veteran underground acts, has shifted with each successive release due to personnel changes. On Bodies for Strontium 90, the band debuts a quartet lineup, recording for the first time without founding member David McClelland on guitar. One of McClelland's roles in the band was to paint swirling effects and colors over the band's airtight math-metal song structures. With his contributions gone, Craw's songs still provide an awesome kick, but lack the space and texture that made its first two records, Craw and Lost Nation Road, genuine classics of heavy underground rock in the '90s. A characteristic track on Bodies for Strontium 90 is "Chop Shop," a pummeling, stop-start rocker over which vocalist Joe McTighe plays the part of a sleazy fat cat who contacts a "Chinese body shoppe" to replace his "pickled" liver and "fried" kidneys. These lyrical snippets should convey that Craw is no ordinary band; the dizzyingly complicated riffs (translated to perfection by drummer Will Scharf, also of the excellent Keelhaul) and completely bizarre lyrics should be experienced by anyone who finds mainstream metal too cheesy or mainstream rock too disaffected.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Henry M. Shteamer