Album Review: Black Crown Initiate — “Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape”

Black Crown Initiate - Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape

Black Crown Initiate made a splash with Song of the Crippled Bull, an EP that crawled deep into my skin and never left. On Selves We Cannot Forgive, they had struck gold with the balance of death metal and progressive tendencies that many would compare to the sound Gojira explored on Magma, albeit with a more melodic dissonance that made the album a delight to listen to. With this in tow, Black Crown Initiate managed to avoid the second album pitfall and now had a new direction to explore: whether their progressive tendencies could bloom into full technical mastery with an experimental edge. With the release of Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape, Black Crown Initiate has succeeded in this regard, creating an album that shows adept mastery into their craft while also revealing just how deeply emotional they can be. Continue reading

Album Review: Misery Signals — “Ultraviolet”

My brother and I started high school at the heyday of the metalcore scene.  We listened to quite a bit of awful, vapid breakdown-bots, but Misery Signals always stood out as a cut above the rest, right from the first time the guy sitting next to me in Spanish class put me on to them.  Lyrically, sonically, technically, emotionally, there was something about them that made them resonate deeper with us, and it’s something that we still come back to.  When I snagged Ultraviolet, I thought it would only be fitting that Vince and I tackle this one together. Continue reading

Album Review: OMITIR — “Ode”

Narrow cobbled stone streets rise and fall passing by vendors outside their homes, and cafes bustling with life—leading to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean or the Douro River.  This hillside city of Porto, Portugal holds so much history and many natural treasures.  OMITIR transports listeners to this historical, robust city and on a tour of Portugal in their newest album Ode. Continue reading

Album Review: Geist and the Sacred Ensemble — “Waning Hymns”

Geist and the Sacred Ensemble are a tough band to pigeonhole.  To even call them a band seems like an oversimplification, when they’re more of a collective or organization, combining music, aesthetic and ideology seamlessly into one amoeba-like unit.  Take one part Swans, one part Inter Arma, one part Ulver and one part Crass and you might come close to what Waning Hymns sounds like.  Then again, maybe not.  It’s an album that begs a deeper dive than just seeing what box it can be shoved into, a whole greater than just the sum of its influences. Continue reading

Album Review: Imperial Triumphant — “Alphaville”

In a romantic sense, New York City embodies a perfect sampling of America.  Opulence and poverty, history and revision, thriving culture and commodified gentrification, honesty and corruption, passionate vision and stubborn ignorance, grandeur and insignificance — all these things come together to make up a city that is as beloved for its endless opportunity and diversity in people and worldviews as it is reviled for its deep-seated association with power, money and depravity.  Imperial Triumphant have taken it on themselves to tell the whole story of the city they call home, and Alphaville is the next chapter in that tale. Continue reading