Crippled Black Phoenix
White Light Generator


3.5
great

Review

by JJKeys USER (6 Reviews)
May 13th, 2014 | 17 replies


Release Date: 03/17/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crippled Black Phoenix return as brilliantly as ever instrumentally, but Justin Greave's unsubtle lyrics make the album suffer.

I spent a good portion of the beginning of the year absolutely hyped for this album, and when I finally listened to it, I loved it. It's a good thing I let the dust settle before I reviewed 'White Light Generator', because it's not as stellar as first thought.

As the name suggests, 'White Light Generator' is a lighter turn in the band's direction - an interview with Justin Greaves gives insight to the album as being "two sides of the same coin...(of) human nature", yet "there's no story to the record", which brings a twinge of concern to any concept-album fanboys. The album is split into two sides: a Black Side and a White Side, the latter being longer as to carry the torch of 'optimism' behind the album - the Black Side is comprised mainly of fist-pumping post-rock anthems, and the White Side is comprised mainly of softer ballad-esque songs. As expected of Crippled Black Phoenix, the new album returns with a change in the band's line up with new vocalist Daniel Ă„nghede - although this new voice is a breath of fresh air, it is let down by the words that he's singing.

If you've even seen CBP's Facebook page, you'll know it's filled with Justin Greave's anti-political ramblings (conjuring up hilarious thoughts of him wearing a tin-foil hat and raving like a lunatic in a city centre about the government) - which is a cause for concern. The same interview with Justin Greaves goes on about his hatred for British Politics ad nauseum, and this is certainly reflected in the album with lyrics such as 'no use for politicians to rule here, government annihilation' and 'empires will crumble under our feet, the burning flags will end your greed'. CBP's lyrics have always circled around politics, like in songs such as 'Troublemaker' and 'Operation Mincemeat', but the lyrics in White Light Generator lack the same subtlety and finesse as the group's previous work. The lack of any coherent concept in this album may also be to blame; as many of their greatest songs are based on historical contexts, I feel a bit disappointed at the aimless lyrics in the new album. However, the quality of vocals in songs like the hauntingly beautiful choral lines in 'A Brighter Tomorrow' and the powerful wailing in 'Black Light Generator' more than make up for the album's unpolished lyrics.

Crippled Black Phoenix are an army when it comes to instrumentation - on an average-side stage, they're almost falling off the end of it since it's such a struggle to fit every instrument under the sun on it. From Hammond Organs to violins, saws to trumpets, and pianos to 'all kinds of guitar ***', CBP are more than utilized to create a strong sonic atmosphere of their music which remains consistent throughout the whole album. The strength of the band as a team is obvious in the synchronicity in songs like 'No!', where the whole band abruptly stops and starts in unison between shouts of 'No!', and the orgasmic ending to 'We Remember You'. However, the Black Side's formula of heavy riffs and drum beats have led to 'Let's Have an Apocalypse Now!', 'Black Light Generator' and 'Parasites' all merging into one due to very little variance - it takes a lot of re-listens to distinguish the three songs from each other. The White Side has no problems with this, as each song is a stand-alone example of instrumental brilliance.

Overall, the album is brilliant instrumentally as you'd expect from Crippled Black Phoenix, but the lyrics are very two-dimensional and some songs need growing onto - it's a very good album, but after every time I listen to any song off it I always end up thinking to myself: 'Man, (Mankind) The Crafty Ape and I, Vigilante were amazing', and I switch over to something off of those two albums. It's a great piece of music, but not Crippled Black Phoenix's best.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JJKeys
May 13th 2014


173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

*average-sized stage

I really need to proof-read better. And if anyone's interested, the interview I'm referencing is from issue 44 of Prog Magazine (issued March 2014)

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2014


16056 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

real let down this one, had high hopes too as i love pretty much everything they did leading up to this, nice write up

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Mad.
May 13th 2014


3967 Comments


Awesome write up man, listened to this this week, it's definitely great stuff, not that it touches I Vigilante or Resurrectionists though. The White Light side is definitely mellower than the Black, and I like your points about Greaves and the Facebook page lol. Probably around a 3.5-4 for me.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2014


16056 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

might try it again, just sounded really turgid

Mad.
May 13th 2014


3967 Comments


It's probably a grower, I felt it's quite like that Dream The Electric Sleep album how all the songs are fairly dense with a lot going on. I need to give them both a few more listens.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2014


16056 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this thing didnt give me any moments that hooked me in though and made me want to listen again, all their others did even on first listen

JJKeys
May 13th 2014


173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the feedback guys! This album does require a couple of spins to grow onto you, but even after all that it's not mind-blowing. I'd probably say that the best tracks that are en par with their other albums are 'No!', 'We Remember You' and 'A Brighter Tomorrow', and the rest isn't really as good as what they've done before.

And after a few spins of Heretic, I'll have to say that Dream The Electric Sleep have probably put out the best album this year. The vocals are just amazing, and it's actually a concept album! Wahey!

Mad.
May 13th 2014


3967 Comments


Those were probably the best tracks yeah, especially No!
JJ mah man, haven't you heard Gazpacho - Demon?! That's my favourite thing this year, a definite 5/5, and it's also got a concept. Plus Messenger - Illusory Blues (folky prog) is incredible and Ethereal Riffian - Aeonian is some awesome psychedelic/stoner/prog/rock/metal. Heretic is definitely awesome though. What's the concept? I haven't picked it up

Mythodea
May 13th 2014


1104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I discovered CBP quite recently and all I do is listen to them, little by little, song by song, trying to delve into their sound. It so happens that I fell in love with their sound after I listened to Resurrectionists. A really good band, indeed.
I really enjoyed their latest album, maybe it's just that I'm relatively new to their sound and don't fully understand that it's not their best work... Anyway, pos, great review, however, I would put ''Let's Have an Apocalypse Now!" on the recommended songs... There's something making me feel so heavenly good about this song...

Digging: Maxophone - Maxophone

JJKeys
May 13th 2014


173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll have to check those other two albums out, Mad. And yeah, I think the concept behind Heretic is less of a story-based concept and more of a general theme - I think its based around feminism and women's suffrage

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2014


6154 Comments


love this band so much, hype to hear this

fromtheinside
May 13th 2014


18717 Comments


damn haven't heard anything since vigilante. totally forgot about these dudes

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

SharkTooth
May 13th 2014


5071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band needs more attention

Digging: Fuzz - Fuzz

ksoflas
May 14th 2014


397 Comments


"band needs more attention" Can't agree more.

ksoflas
May 14th 2014


397 Comments


Fine review, pos'd.

ApplaudBlue
May 19th 2014


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i swear this is 3,5>

Mad.
May 19th 2014


3967 Comments


M8 do you even I Vigilante



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