Black Crown Initiate-Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape

I feel like I keep saying this a lot of late, but here’s another album to simply cherish for its mere existence. It’s a sad state of affairs in our current climate, but for bands the size of Black Crown Initiate, the prospect of surviving as an active entity is fraught with peril. From hearing some stories surrounding the making of this album, the fact that this thing even exists is a miracle and a testament to the dedication of the members of the band to keep plugging away in the face of multiple obstacles. I fear that so many metal bands are going to find themselves in this state of affairs going forward with the lack of touring.

This is full length number three for Black Crown Initiate and it has been four long years since their last release. Things had been so quiet on their front as far as touring and new album news that I really started to fear we had lost these guys for good. It sounds like the band members had gone through quite an upheaval on personal, financial and health fronts. As a result, this album is coming from a very dark place. I can only thank these guys for remaining committed to this project and seeing this album to its end because they really came up with something special on this release.

Black Crown Initiate is a member of the technical death metal genre, but they been one of the few bands in that genre that has managed to find that sweet balance between the technical and the creative. Sometimes the bands in this sub-genre can veer into the pure masturbatory indulgences of speed and aggression that end up ruining any attempt at creating any memorable songs. Black Crown definitely has moments of technical brilliance and flash, but it is all focused to serve the songs and the album as a whole. Added flashes of acoustic and odd timings and rhythms throughout also give their take on technical death metal a more unique and memorable impact. Also, on this album, it feels as though the vocals have almost been split evenly between the demon growls of James Dorton and the angelic croon of guitarist Andy Thomas. The dichotomy of the two styles elevates the album to such a cool place.

This is just a phenomenally forward thinking and emotional gut-punch of a death metal album. This is the kind of album that transcends the genre and it really carving out an interesting space all its own.

4.5 flip flops out of 5

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