Black Crown Initiate
The Wreckage Of Stars
27th October 2014 – eOne Heavy/Good Fight
01. Great Mistake
02. The Fractured One
04. The Human Lie Manifest
05. Withering Waves
06. To The Eye That Leads
07. The Wreckage Of Stars
08. Shapes Collapse
With an ambiguous name like Black Crown Initiate, it’s understandable that you might be unsure what to expect – so let me start off with some framing: the Pennsylvanian five-piece muster music reminiscent of bands like Opeth and Behemoth, with a gentle interweaving of both progressive elements as well as the more orthodox hints of death metal and black metal. Their debut album The Wreckage Of Stars is a showcase of incredible talent
From the intense blast of the opening song, it’s apparent that they aren’t your run of the mill death metal band. With a chorus with clean vocals that shows signs of Mastodon and Devin Townsend, it’s evident from early on there is something dramatic about them as well; their song writing blends intricate acoustic guitar passages within crushing heaviness at times, giving their songs that flow which many bands in the genre seem to overlook. All this, and they manage to weave world music influences into the mix as well, which adds yet more atmosphere in their own unique way.
“Malignant” opens with a particularly eerie acoustic guitar riff much in the way of Opeth, which beckons in their intense black metal influence, but what’s great about The Wreckage Of Stars is that despite the full sections of black or death metal influence, they don’t forget to throw in the odd surprise riff, which is a pleasure to the ears – but perhaps not the neck. “The Human Lie Manifest” is one such example; the dramatic clean sections, with three of the five members contributing to a wall of vocals, sound refreshing and is executed well.
The largely instrumental title track is another treat for the ears, showcasing their more ethereal side before bursting into their signature intense blend of heavy prog metal. Another notable intricacy that sets this band apart from their peers is Nick Shaw’s bass work, which is often melodic in times of intense heaviness, like a surprise caramel filling in this dessert of an album.
There’s a rare sweet spot between progressive, black & death metal and Black Crown Initiate fall slap bang in the middle of it. For a debut, this is an impressive feat, and one that, if built upon properly, will be sure to get them far.