Every year or so the metal scene gives birth to its next big thing: a group, flooded in hype, poised to take the world by storm. Many times, I have found this build-up to be unjustified. Often, it is clever artifice, designed by record labels to push units for an otherwise fruitless group of automatons. However, we occasionally find the acclaim to be legitimate, and BLACK CROWN INITIATE is certainly a part of the latter group. They release their inaugural record, The Wreckage of Stars on September 30, through eOne Music.
As stated, BCI has garnered a great deal of press over the past few months, stemming from their impressive Song of the Crippled Bull EP, which led to them inking their current deal and all throughout the recording process for their initial LP. It also doesn’t hurt that they feature Jesse Beahler from JUNGLE ROT and RINGS OF SATURN on the kit. The kid is a phenomenal drummer, and in his local days, playing in Delaware act NIGHTFIRE with BCI’S singer James Dorton, Beahler made other skins men look like amateurs. Not to take away from the rest of the group, who carry equal weight. All the right elements are in perfect order with this band, and it certainly shows on Wreckage.
From beginning to end, there is not a second of filler on the disc. Every song brings different sounds, exploring numerous musical styles and motifs, while managing to insert copious amounts of death into the mix. A great example shows in album opener “Great Mistake”, which sees the group adding an Indian flair with sitar at the beginning and close of the track. While “The Fractured One”, “Human Lie Manifest”, “To the Eye That Leads You”, and “Shape’s Collapse” keep things increasingly heavy throughout, each song offering subtle hints of melodic respite in the form of well-placed clean vocal hooks and soaring guitar leads. The group allows their more progressive side to shine on songs such as “The Malignant”, “Withering Waves”, title track “The Wreckage of Stars” (my personal favorite) and album closers “Purge” and “Linear”. In fact, the latter two place a great deal of emphasis on acoustic guitars, layering beautifully crafted melodies over chugging riffs, similar to the atmospheres found on many OPETH releases.
On all fronts, The Wreckage of Stars exceeds the hype surrounding the group, transcending the platform of traditional death metal to bring about a new era. From end to end, the group traverses a broad range of musical landscapes, offering a collection of tunes that far exceed what many would call eclectic. Each brick, from foundation to apex prevails fluently in opening a terrain not typically seen in such a precise offshoot of our genre. BLACK CROWN INITIATE have reached the next stage of evolution, and this debut has set a challenge for the remainder of the Death Metal community to catch up. One could say they have laid down the proverbial gauntlet. However you choose to sum it up, it needs to end with you purchasing this record.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE