Congratulations, you’ve stumbled into a weekly column where Simon, our resident station metal-head, tells you about a new metal album that you haven’t heard (either cause you’re a non-metal-loving fool or you just spend less time on the internet than Simon does) and why that needs to change as soon as possible. Bask in the glory of the riffs, dear reader!
Good day, fellow riff-lovers! It is now October. The leaves are beginning to fall, our glorious radio station is up and running, and the air is slowly getting colder. You know what that means? It’s time for some brand new metal albums to start appearing, helping us through the gloomy winter to come. This week, the very first of this new weekly column of new, ass-kicking metal, I bestow upon thee the debut LP from a band known as Black Crown Initiate. The album? The Wreckage of Stars. Why should you listen? Allow me to enlighten you.
Black Crown Initiate released a debut EP in the summer of 2013 called Songs of the Crippled Bull. While stellar, it did slip under the radar, as do the debut EPs of many, many, MANY, well deserving bands. However, it picked up some steam and the release of their debut full-length has been very highly anticipated for those of us metal-heads who spend lots of time on the internet. Released on September 30th to high expectations, it’s pretty fucking awesome.
The bearded (er . . . mostly bearded . . .) boys of Black Crown Initiate play a unique kind of progressive death metal. It’s very technical, but not technical in the usually tech-death fashion of: “bunch of guys basically do a circle-jerk with one hand on their instruments.” These guys know how to compose a kick-ass song! It’s heavy, but it also has some clean passages (and clean vocals!) that don’t sound whiny. The melodies and chords are just as musically interesting as the heavier sections.
Additionally, a key part of pulling off technical and progressive death is the production. While old-school death metal, as well as countless other metal subgenres, sound best at their dirtiest, really technical death metal needs crisp production. You can’t have all that technical wankery going to waste! Let us hear those sweeps! Literally, my only complaint with this album is that the bass could be higher in the mix, but I’ve heard much worse in my experiences with over-produced, over compressed nonsense (looking at you, Metallica).
Black Crown Initiate has a solid as hell debut full-length right here. The songs are varied and their musicianship is top notch, so you’re getting excellent riffs and well-crafted songwriting at the same time, which can shamefully be a rarity with bands that like to get progressive or technical. Check out the video for one of the best songs, “Withering Waves,” below! Even if you’re not a metal-head, those beards won’t disappoint you! Stay tuned for next week and stay heavy.