Crown the Empire
The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways


2.5
average

Review

by betray USER (6 Reviews)
October 6th, 2014 | 76 replies


Release Date: 07/22/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crown The Empire attempt to break out of the realm of generic metalcore and into arena-ready, blockbuster album territory - but succeed only marginally.

As the title of the album would suggest – The Resistance: Rise of The Runaways is a concept album and the sophomore full-length production from Texas metalcore outfit Crown The Empire.

Rise of The Runaways follows the story of a Runaway - an individual resisting against the unknown villain seeking to strip the residents of the ‘New Fallout’ of their freedom and identity. This concept is described by the album’s annoyingly long spoken word intro.

Unfortunately for Crown The Empire, there are two fairly obvious oversights to the album and its concept. The first being that the concept is glaringly similar to an album released by one of the band’s peers – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones by Black Veil Brides - which, in turn is very similar the concept of many other works in history. The second misstep by the band is much simpler. Why is a band named ‘Crown The Empire’ making an album about ‘resistance’ and ‘individuality’" An empire is defined as an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority. Without even listening to the album yet, a well-informed consumer can immediately spot this complete lack of creative cohesion – more than likely on the part of the producer – not the band itself.

Onto the music.

Or maybe not just yet. A drawn out intro starts the album off on a sour note, the unnamed bad guy drones on about humanity’s failures - while the listener is left most likely yearning for the music to just start already.

That very wish is granted with the opening track – the infectious and high-energy ‘Initiation’. ‘Initiation’ is the best track to be found on the album – not a good sign for the remainder of a 50 minute, 13 track album. Even the best track on the album is not without its shortcomings: a voice over a PA system interjects too much with nonsense, and an air-raid siren heard a few times during the runtime is only the first of many failed attempts to be atmospheric throughout the album. ‘Initiation’ boasts a very catchy chorus and is the first example of the superb vocals of Crown The Empire. Andy Leo and David Escamilla are two very talented vocalists. They solo often to progress the tracks along, and their combination yields a powerful result. The vocals take center-stage on this Joey Sturgis production. As for the rest of the band, they're all pretty easily lost in the mix of all that is going on in Rise of The Runaways. Between all the atmospheric keyboard and electronic effects combined with just how vocally focused the album is made, it'd be hard to blame a listener for losing track of the guitarists and drummer who do little to stand out.

Concept albums are touchy beasts. Stick to the concept too much, and it becomes overbearing. Follow it too loosely, and the album feels too scattered. ‘Millennia’ is a perfect example of this shortcoming. While not a bad track overall, it immediately follows the concept-heavy ‘Initiation’. This slower song, completely devoid of screamed vocals, has little to no trace of the original idea – save for a few mentions of the word ‘runaway’ here and there. ‘Machines’ and ‘MNSTR’ are both decent cuts that follow the very out-of-place ‘Millennia’, ‘Machines’ has perhaps the strongest chorus on the album, and ‘MNSTR’ showcases Escamilla’s fantastic screamed vocals. ‘Satellites’ continues the trend of keeping an ‘epic’ sound to the album, but sadly comes off more annoying than celestial.

There is a commonly held belief by music enthusiasts that the title track of an album should be one of the strongest on the album. This is not the case for ‘Rise of The Runaways’. It suffers from the same affliction that plagues the rest of the album – great vocals but lackluster otherwise. There is a pretty short yet enjoyable breakdown overlaid with a guitar solo here, immediately countered by the very cheesy hook:

“Run, run, running,
I keep running,
I keep on running away!”


‘The Phoenix Reborn’ – the penultimate song of the album, serves the purpose to bring it all to a finale. It does so well, progressing the story (that was lost again in the previous tracks) to an end. It takes its time doing so, clocking in at just under 6 minutes. The soaring choruses end with a heavy breakdown – followed by the sounds a fierce battle. Fast, deep breaths of a Runaway are heard over the immense firefight – an explosion pierces his ears, yet he continues on. The Runaway keeps his sprint until a bullet stops him dead in his tracks. An abrupt, dark, yet perfect climax to the album.

Except there’s one more track. ‘Johnny’s Rebellion’ is the album's 7-minute long closer. It starts off with an ethereal vibe – only to be shockingly dragged back down to sea level after just a few seconds. One of the albums very few wins is this moment - but only this very moment - as the song drags on for far too long and just isn't very interesting at all. Finally, this convoluted rollercoaster of an album has come to an end. However, there is no shortage of unanswered questions thanks to the extremely long and unnecessary closer. Were the Runaways the bad guys after all" Was the whole thing just a dream" Who won"

Rise of The Runaways is somewhat enjoyable in some small sections but extremely messy, leaving the listener with a sense of relief that it’s over. Quite a few of the songs on Rise of The Runaways sound extremely similar. The middle section of the album only has one track that stands out amongst the other mostly forgettable ones. Furthermore, if the listener had a certain objection to a segment, other tracks on the album are bound to be repeat offenders. There are great vocals to be found throughout, but the frequent abandonment of the story is jarring when it’s picked back up suddenly, and while the attempt to sound different is respectable, the atmospheric and cinematic feel to the album falls short.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is extremely reminiscent of movie theater nachos. Decent enough in some parts – but most of it is either too cheesy or too dry.

emester
October 6th 2014


8186 Comments


good to see the first real review of this trite. Nice work! :D

Digging: Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review dude pos, although I obviously disagree with you. I would say that occasionally you don't come

off as subjective enough and sound like you're just trying to hate on the band a little but for the most

part it's slight.



The part where the screams come in at the end of the intro song is pretty sweet. Got me moving. I also

really liked the title track, had a little bit of a rock vibe and a guitar solo if I recall correctly.

Initiation was actually one of my least favorite tracks. The concept record thing seemed iffy to me when I

heard about this but I pretty much forgot my skepticism after jamming it.



Also not sure the part about their name in relation to the album theme was necessary or justified. It's

probably just a nonsense name like many bands, but regardless of what it is I don't think it justifies a

big complaint of the album.

Judio!
October 6th 2014


8404 Comments


glaringly

emester
October 6th 2014


8186 Comments


The part about the name was entertaining to read imo yet it really is unessential to the review

betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks guys.



@Game thanks for not taking our difference in opinion into account of the review. Always appreciate that.



The band name and album name relation isn't so much of a complaint as much as it is foreshadowing. Like 'look out! this albums gonna be messy, just look at the name!'

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 6th 2014


4408 Comments


"Unfortunately for Crown The Empire, there are two fairly obvious oversights to the album and it’s concept"

*its

"This slower song, completely devoid of screamed vocals has little to no trace of the original idea"

I feel like you could break up the sentence a little by adding a comma between "vocals" and "has"

"great vocals and lackluster otherwise"

Reads awkwardly. Try "great vocals, but lackluster otherwise".

"the penultimate song of the album serves the purpose to bring it all to a finale"

Again, try throwing in a comma between "album" and "serves".

"It takes it’s time"

*its

"has one track that standouts"

*stands out

Other than that, good review. If anything, I'd just recommend trying to avoid using hyphens so often.


betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Game, emester I see how you guys could think it was an unnecessary jab at the band. It wasn't - like Game said, lots of bands have nonsense names, but it was actually one of the first things I noticed about the album (besides the shite artwork i decided not to bring up)



Was just a couple of sentences anyways.



@Snide



Thank you much. However Millennia definitely left me with a big 'wtf' feeling immediately after the first track.

betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah I totally abused the '-' on this one, I noticed after reading it on the webpage. Gonna fix those grammatical errors. But don't you use 'it's' to show possession?



"the albums concept"



"it's concept" it being the album?

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I pride myself on not taking opinions into account on reviews like too many people seem to do. You were one of the first people that were cool to me on sput so I've got a soft spot for ya.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm pretty sure explosive is right. I think it's just "its" in this situation.

betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

10/4, fixed.

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 6th 2014


4408 Comments


ALRIGHT, let's settle this once and for all:

It's = IT FUCKING IS (contraction)

Its = SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT IT FUCKING IS (possessive)

k?

EDIT: nevermind good job

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Explosive is protective of its and it's. They're his special words you see.

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 6th 2014


4408 Comments


I was the biggest grammar nazi back in the day, you couldn't even imagine.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol I've known some good ones.

ScarlettPimpernail
October 6th 2014


270 Comments


Good review. Pretty much agree with everything you said.

SnakeDelilah
October 6th 2014


20005 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

pos

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks a lot!

betray
October 6th 2014


9186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks a lot!



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