Whenever I hear new music, I ask myself: How original is it? What sets this band apart from all the others? Why should I spend my time listening to this album rather than one I already know and love? Many modern metal bands try to be original and bring something fresh and exciting to the table, and most fail. However, there are many exceptions, and without a doubt, Black Crown Initiate is one.
Hailing from Reading, Pennsylvania, and founded in 2012, Black Crown Initiate is a progressive death metal band unlike any other. Their most recent album, “The Wreckage of Stars,” was released through eOne Entertainment last September. In the year since its release I’ve probably listened to the album in its entirety 20 times. It’s just that good.
“The Wreckage of Stars” is filled with passion and emotion. It somehow manages to flawlessly blend beauty with rage. There are plenty of acoustic parts, which are quite abnormal in extreme metal, but in this album they add new layers of depth and diversity.
The first track, “A Great Mistake” (which is by no means a mistake of a song), has an acoustic intro that fits seamlessly with the crushing riffs and sheer brutality of the rest of the song. The composition is excellent, and nothing ever feels like it’s out of place. After the song ends with the same acoustic passage it started with, the next track – “The Fractured One” – breaks through the peaceful quiet with an aggressive serenade of rapid double-bass drumming that will leave you in awe. One of the most memorable songs for me is “The Malignant.” The masterful blast-beat drumming, especially in the intro and chorus, creates a catchy groove.
The vocals on this album are definitely unique, but that is in no way a bad thing. The angry Cookie Monster-style growls so typical of death metal are present throughout, but Black Crown Initiate breaks boundaries by incorporating clean vocals as well. Normally, I would be turned off by the idea of clean singing in death metal, but somehow the band makes it fit so well that I can’t imagine what “The Wreckage of Stars” would be without it.
I love this album with pretty much every fiber of my being. It is extremely rare to find metal that is so original and introspective. Even after hearing “The Wreckage of Stars” so many times, I have yet to grow tired of it. Black Crown Initiate continues to inspire me and keep me coming back for more. I urge you to listen to it yourself. You will not be disappointed.