Crown the Empire
Sudden Sky


2.0
poor

Review

by Shamus248 USER (79 Reviews)
July 19th, 2019 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Once the most promising group in heavy music, Crown the Empire crashes and burns with their newest album.

This one hurts.

Crown the Empire are thereason I fell in love with heavy metal, pop punk, alternative music and attended 5 Warped Tours. Their music shifted the course of my life as I knew it during my adolescent years. The Fallout was an album that utterly mesmerized my teenage mind. I happily trekked forward with the group through their next pair of albums. The Resistance readied them for big stadium histrionics and Retrograde expanded their sound and positioned them to potentially lead their genre. But that was before everything fell apart.

In January 2017, co-lead vocalist and guitarist Dave Escamilla announced he was leaving Crown the Empire and with his departure, came some shocking revelations; Retrograde had not been written by the band itself, the band was forbidden from being in the studio to contribute to writing, and the 'rockstar' lifestyle had gotten to pretty much everyone in the group. Escamilla felt as though he was being paid to do a job, and that's not why he grew up wanting to be a musician. In good faith, he departed from the band. Their response" To publicly insinuate that Escamilla, by far their most talented member, had never contributed creatively to the group during his tenure.

And just like that, everything I believed to be true about Crown the Empire, as musicians and as people, faded into oblivion. It turns out they weren't stand up guys who wrote impassioned hooks about rebellion and revolution. They were paid shills that would sing whatever lyrics you slapped in front of them. It appears that trend continues with Sudden Sky, their first album since Escamilla's departure. You, the listener, will come to find very quickly, that his absence is felt quite strongly throughout these ten tracks.

Album opener "(X)" is nothing more than some bland, cheesy speech from solo frontman Andy Leo, virtue signaling about being afraid and having questions unanswered. It does little to give the listener reason to hang on every word going forward and it's main purpose is to overwhelm you with electronic bells and whistles. Lead off single "20/20" relies heavily on this kind of composition, drowning out Leo's vocals and the live instrumentals under synths and choppy production. "What I Am" is a strong bounce back, as it proves Leo can still belt out a great chorus, but that may be the sole highlight on this album.

"Blurry (Out of Place)" tries to capitalize on its predecessor. This is a rare moment where the band succeeds at trying something new without being sporadic and abrasive about sprinkling in wintery basslines and wonky sound effects everywhere. Andy Leo has always been a great singer, and tracks like this work with him as the sole front of the group, but there's no hook to make this song as memorable as some of the group's past work. "Red Pills" shows signs of identity crisis with the group. The live, heavier instrumentals want to shine and bassist Hayden Tree tries his hand at screamed vocals, as he's done since Escamilla left. But he'll never come close to Escamilla territory.

Elsewhere, "MZRY" sees the band further overdosing on electronic noises and overly flushed out production value and "SEQU3NCE" is occupied by tired and uninspired nu-metal sensibilities. Hayden Tree's unclean vocals are laughably bad here, leaving the listener longing for the days when Dave Escamilla would bludgeon the listener while some God damn fun instrumentals backed him up. "March of the Ignorant" plays like a bad Twenty One Pilots ripoff and the album's closing title track does its best to end things on a strong note. Try as it may, Brent Taddie's solid drumming and Brandon Hoover's lead guitar can't compete with the band's heavier back catalog on Andy Leo can't quite reach the heights his vocals saw before. With that, Sudden Sky meets its end.

Suffice to say, this album is a mess. Every riff, every lyric, every note, it's all drowned out in gimmicky bells and whistles that fail to conjure up anything memorable. There's no creativity here lyrically, most of the songs looking like they were pulled out of a nu metal playback circa 2005. But the listener can take refuge in the fact that the band didn't write it themselves; Brendan Barone and some ghost writers take the blame there. It's sad to see how far Crown the Empire has fallen from what they were. It's also close to unconscionable to think how one member's departure could have such a ripple effect on what was to come next. Sudden Sky is a sloppy serving of songs from a group of guys who gave up their crowns to instead masquerade as a bunch of court jesters. It's a damn shame too, because glory was calling their name five years ago. Perhaps they can turn the tide with future albums, but Sudden Sky has left this listener heavily doubting the likelihood of that happening.



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user ratings (55)
Chart.
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
SweeneyTodd (4)
Crown the Ghostwriter...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Shamus248
July 19th 2019


445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

CC is welcome. Still cringing at that album cover.

KenboSlice
July 19th 2019


3211 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This album is so bad

doc23
July 19th 2019


31 Comments


Great review awful band. Only slight crit would be it runs a little long thought you could of tighten it just a bit but really solid writing. POS

igordrago
July 19th 2019


102 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

POS. This band just needs to stop. Fucking boy band.

SteakByrnes
July 19th 2019


15500 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"Once the most promising group in heavy music"



excuse me sir what

Digging: Windwaker - Empire

SweeneyTodd
July 19th 2019


2280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

wasn’t just Retrograde they had outside help with, every single album had external writers. review is okay, but something about it just doesn’t read right

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

SweeneyTodd
July 19th 2019


2280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

(also after doing some digging, they do make their own music, but they have external help from people, some are musicians in fellow rise bands, Brendan wanted to be a part of the band but didn’t like the idea of touring. not to mention, they’re not the only band that does this sadly, Asking Alexandria and Of Mice & Men reportedly use the same writing team)

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2019


9930 Comments


Agree mostly what everyone else has said regarding the review. Solid overall, but perhaps would benefit from a once-over.

This looks like an album I'll avoid, much like the rest of the content this band has produced.

Digging: Sparrows - Failed Gods

AmbushReality
July 19th 2019


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@sweeny on AA & OM&M, not the same writing team currently. Producer Joey Sturgis wrote nearly all of each band's first two records musically, so you're kind of write. Shayley (now of Dayshell) wrote about half of the second OM&M record and played all the guitars, and his influence on the style really shines when you hear his own riffs on the Dayshell self titled. Since then, they've definitely either started writing their own shit, or got a different team, and its obvious with how lazy their recent albums have been. Both bands.



Great review here man. This pretty much summed up my thoughts on this band as well, although I came to the realization that they weren't gonna be the torch bearers as the singles from Retrograde started coming out. I thought Retrograde ended up being a mess and totally derailed my opinion of the band before all the Dave shit came out. I haven't heard all of this album just yet, but you essentially confirmed every expectation of it I have going into it. Whatta shame. Throwing you a pos though, this was well written.

ButtBoy
July 19th 2019


4310 Comments


what...the fuck...is this album art

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2019


9930 Comments


It's definitely a choice that was made.

Uzumaki
July 19th 2019


1377 Comments


Damn shame to hear how far they've fallen. I enjoyed "The Fallout" and "The Resistance" when they came out, but was slightly disappointed with "Retrograde" and the direction they took with it, and it sounds like they doubled down here. Don't think I really want to check this out now. Sadface.
Have a pos for the review, but I agree with the others, it does need a teensy little touch up grammatically.

Digging: AngelMaker - AngelMaker

splinter
July 19th 2019


516 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

excuse me sir what [2]

JayEnder
July 19th 2019


4955 Comments


Not listening for the album art alone

Digging: Knocked Loose - A Different Shade of Blue

Uzumaki
July 19th 2019


1377 Comments


我吗?

William21
July 19th 2019


455 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Most of this is pretty forgettable but I actually dig 20/20, Leo has a surprisingly good chorus on that one

AgentDeathbat
July 19th 2019


10022 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A little disappointed by this.

dctarga
July 19th 2019


1644 Comments


what...the fuck...is this album art [2]

Devastator
July 19th 2019


3904 Comments


It looks like it came from a photo-shoot for a K-Pop boy band.

SteakByrnes
July 19th 2019


15500 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I got through two songs on this and all I have to say is no thanks



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