Band: Black Crown Initiate
Album: The Wreckage of Stars
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Country: USA
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Label: eOne Music
Reviewer: Ziad Gadou

They say the first impression is the most important one in any encounter. Black Crown Initiate certainly left a great one on me with this fantastic debut. “The Wreckage of Stars” is one of those debuts that leave you wishing you finished those music lessons you started as a 6-year old.  Rising US progressive-death metal have an impressive touring resume to complement their excellent sound. Following a successful debut four-track concept EP “Song of the Crippled Bull” release, the band took the spotlight in the renowned Metal Alliance Tour alongside the legendary Goatwhore and Behemoth. Since then, Black Crown Initiate have gone on to tour with Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Rivers of Nihil.

A perfect description of the opening track, “Great Mistake”, would be a progressive take of a Behemoth track. With growls so gut-shattering and clean vocals reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir’s “Vortex”, Rik Stelzpflug and Andy Thomas were a lethal guitar/vocal tag team. “The Fractured One” was simply, a straight up head-banging track. No shortcuts, just persistently timed drum arrangements and great death metal riffs. “Malignant” was an unreleased “Opeth”, “Damnation/Deliverance”, death metal track. If this song does not get you headbanging in emotional hiatus, Nick Shaw’s bass solo was guaranteed to grasp your wits by force. The album’s excellent production is definitely worth mentioning. Every instrument is its own paradigm, clamoring for your undivided attention.  “Withering Waves” was just another reason why clean vocals are never a hindrance in death metal tracks. In fact, it is the cherry on top. The album title track is definitely my pick off the album. The opening riff drifts the listener into a cloud so comfortable you might just drool absent-mindedly. Before you know it, the progressive plot twist strikes again and you lay there bedazzled with a mixture of awe and pleasure.

In conclusion, Black Crown Initiate are not the “new boys in town”. They did not lack knowledge of direction or sound. They know exactly what sort of deliverance to bring to the scene. They are simply progressive conductors who decided to pick up instruments and record an album. With a superb sound of production and a powerful presence on all instruments, “Black Crown Initiate” are certainly an act to have eyes on, at all times. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the progressive death metal torch is in safe hands.


Check out Withering Waves below:

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