Wednesday 23 October 2013

Black Crown Initiate - Song of the Crippled Bull

Song of the Crippled Bull cover art

Album Type : EP
Date Released : 17/7/2013
Label : Self Released

Song of the Crippled Bull, track listing :

1. Stench of the Iron Age
2. Ghosts She Sends
3. The Mountain Top
4. Song of the Crippled Bull

The Band on this release :

James Dorton | Vocals
Nick Shaw | Bass
Andy Thomas | Guitars, Clean Vocals

Review :

Being sent EPs from new and upcoming bands always fills me with excitement: the rawness, the energy and the desire to have their message heard sings through with every song recorded and put onto the final product.  After all, on an EP every song has to matter, every song has to make a point.  And, ladies and gentlemen, Black Crown Initiate have done just that on their stonking four-track ‘Song of the Crippled Bull’.  The quintet from Reading, PA have made a stellar debut of progressive metal brilliance.  Time to take a closer look. 

EP opener ‘Stench of the Iron Age’ is an epic slab of metal, reaching up to the sky to blot out the sun.  It begins so delicately too: with subtle, melodious guitars giving way to drums and Nick Shaw’s truly remarkable basswork (think Les Claypool with added intensity).  James Dorton starts intoning his lyrics, repeating them like a dark incantation, until the spell is complete and the heaviness blossoms out like a mushroom cloud.  Sparks of devilish guitars snap and flash out, whilst the drums beat out a murderous tattoo.  At over seven minutes, it really is a metal odyssey that galvanizes Black Crown Initiate’s sound from mere metal into something much stronger and durable. 

The dust doesn’t even have time to settle as ‘Ghosts She Sends’ crashes in with the weight of a truck.  The vocals sound as though James Dorton is trying to call down fire and brimstone from the heavens.  And the terrifying musical accompaniment only enforces the idea that he is able to do just that.  Just as the music reaches a dizzying peak, there’s a break in the stormcloud and some delicate music shines through upon us.  It’s only a brief respite, though: the darkness swallows the light whole and spews back violent, seething sonic rage, finishing with bristling shouts of ‘GHOSTS SHE SENDS!’ making nearby mountains shudder with fear. 

Again the transition to a new song is instantaneous.  ‘The Mounatin Top’ pounds and roars with such defiant anger it could cause even the tide to relent and turn back.  This track is fast, too.  Almost dizzyingly so.  Andy Thomas is just fantastic, his guitar prowess so accomplished it makes grown men jealous at how easy he makes it seem. 

Then we have the grand finale.  With a flourish of spine-tingling riffs, ‘Song of the Crippled Bull’ takes to the floor with a contemptuous sneer at its peers.  It knows how good it is, and that this space is now theirs for the taking.  And what a show it puts on: tap-dancing out blast beats, twirling out majestic guitar solos and all the while still maintaining perfect poise and composure.  When the song is finished, the night is over.  It really is that powerful a tune. 

Considering that they have only been together since December of 2012, it’s incredible to think how polished and well-sounding Black Crown Initiate are.  This EP is a testament to the creativity and talent of these five guys: make no mistake, if they aren’t signed and making a full-length album in a year or so, there’s no justice in the world.  Get initiated right away. 

Words by : Chris Markwell

You can buy it here


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