Review Summary: a ride not soon to be forgotten
You’ve heard this record before, no doubt if you’re a post-rock fan; it clamors everything that is astounding about the genre. It utilizes commonalities amongst the greatest bands to once, and currently, grace the scene; recorded excerpts revitalizing humanitarian insistence and strong necessity for pure intrinsic salvation of course, bluntly executed instrumentation enforcing the albums low, desperate and moody points only to exacerbate the highs that much more, are packed in abundance. Yeah, these all sound like the finer linings of a ‘Been There Done That’ T-shirt company on paper, but when you listen, not just hear it, but actually listen
to the albums intent - the soul that escapes between furious piano interludes, fantastic vocal progressions, and ominous amounts of flavor spicing from genre pureeing, you get an album that’s damn well near the best thing to happen this year.
Crippled Black Phoenix have been traveling for this perfection since their inception, much like director Christopher Nolan honed his skills for his recent behemoth, the band also molded all the perfect elements through trial and error. I, Vigilante
wastes no time in showing its hand. Opener “Troublemaker” packs a volatile punch in luring its foe much like the depicted cover art, and while leaving its mark soothes the listener into a trance of bluesy guitar offerings and somber vocal melodies. Yet, how cunning would the animal be in showing its entire prowess in one distinct action? So much of the album weighs within its progression in which one discovers an unforeseeable yet unsurprising turn through each evolving portion.
The greatest facet of I, Vigilante
may be its rebuking of the genre it’s now accelerating. Sure, it seems to offer the same mechanics as a typical post-rock band what, with all the delicate lows to balance out the crafty peaks - like that of the typical genre coaster. But there’s a different atmosphere built around this machine. The lows are only bleak because it’s a soft pianos transition section decorated with haunting ambiance, or a soulful guitars time to accentuate the virtuosity of the track; the intention of ricocheting the listener with a barrage of ups and downs is swept clear and what’s left if the genuine distilment of a band flowing through the motions. It’s one of the reasons why it’s hard to isolate tracks and talk about their individual achievements; because they are only achievements in the sum of the album, an expansive look at what they created within a fifty minute span, and not a moment sooner.
In hopes that I haven’t acerbated every post-rock enthusiast telling their computer screen there’s no way this rivals any workings of GY!BE or Sigur Ros
, let me stop you there and say you’re right. In fact this travels in the exact opposite direction set forth by its grandeur predecessors. Where the aforementioned bands rely on a satiating imagination on their listener’s part, Crippled Black Phoenix wants you to enjoy the realm they’ve created for you. Much of this stems from the work of accompanying vocals guiding your footsteps as you wander through western tribunal sagas, early American travel-logs, and turn of the century Lynyrd Skynyrd renderings – all stylistically.
Crippled Black Phoenix has created an album that’s so retro, unique and familiar, prudent but never disestablished from their quality. As quoted in “Troublemaker”, “Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores", where a fox may change its fur but never it’s character; it solidifies the perfection sought through the progress of Crippled. While they’ve added near-flamboyant elements in retaining other essential pieces they’ve maintained the same in journeying through trial and error to craft such incredulity – and it’s shown, never better.