Black Crown Initiate
Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape


4.5
superb

Review

by boristhebladexx USER (4 Reviews)
August 11th, 2020 | 45 replies


Release Date: 08/07/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A raw expression of rage and torment

For seven years, Black Crown Initiate have released albums with their unique blend of progressive death metal. Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape is their most well-rounded and expansive record yet. Teased since September of 2019, the band released five singles in the lead-up to release day leaving few surprises. “Son of War” and “Trauma” are the two yet-unheard songs from this record, as well as the re-recorded version of “Years in Frigid Light”, the interlude “Bellow”, and the outro “He is the Path”.

Screamer James Dorton is at his best across all 9 tracks. He alternates between a deranged, seemingly out-of-control vocal style and a more deliberate expression of rage. “Years in Frigid Light” and “Death Comes in Reverse” showcase his ability to switch between the two methods. Singer and guitarist Andy Thomas offers impassioned clean vocals, interchanging softly toned moments with powerful, wailing choruses. Opener “Invitation” juxtaposes all four vocal styles heard on the album. You are lured in with acoustic guitar and Thomas singing calmly before the beat drops and Dorton is at his ferocious best. After another round of Thomas, Dorton returns with controlled rage. The album is devoid of monotonous vocals that can be found on many metal records.

The quality of the guitar work is unmistakable; their talent proven again and again, track after track. The previously mentioned Thomas and rejoining member Ethan McKenna build on the already impressive reputation of Black Crown Initiate. They display a wide range of skills across the album: the pseudo-southern opening riff of “Son of War”, the atmospheric layering on the re-recorded “Years in Frigid Light”, the quick-fire post-opening to “Sun of War”. The solos on the album are well executed and never feel like they were a forced addition, with the ending solo of “Holy Silence” standing out as particularly beautiful. Although clearly talented and capable, they frequently step back to allow other instruments to shine. Calm sections on “Invitation”, “Death Comes in Reverse”, and “Sun of War” give space for Thomas or bassist Nick Shaw to step in and add trinkets of value to the album. The ability of the guitarists to retreat creates small moments for others. Shaw doesn’t stand out frequently but shines on “Son of War” and “Holy Silence” when given the opportunity.

Session drummer Gabe Seeber does a commendable job replacing outgoing drummer Jesse Beahler. The similarity in playing style is so close you may have made it through the record without noticing that they changed drummers. While Seeber doesn’t stand out very often, he provides a solid platform for the entire record. There are flashes of brilliance (the bridge on “Son of War”) and several times he impressively matches the guitarists beat for beat (“Death Comes in Reverse”). His most notable contribution comes at the end of the “Years in Frigid Light”: jarring, stop-start guitar work leaves plenty of space that Seeber saturates with fills.

There are few lows throughout the albums 50-minute runtime. “Trauma Bonds” has a slow start but is well worth the listen by the time it arrives. The drumming is beyond competent without question but could have used slightly more creativity. The bass is frequently not present even though Shaw proves himself a talented musician, but that is the typical of modern metal. “Bellow” lives up to its name and offers little more than a brief respite from the greatness surrounding it. You are performing hairsplitting of the finest degree at this point.

In the lead up to the release of Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape, the band put out a statement saying the record came from a place of “addiction, cancer, death, failing relationships, financial hardship, utter ruin. Hell.” All of this was channeled and poured in to create this titanic release, a raw expression of rage and torment. “He is the Path” brings us back to the album opener and sends us out with such:

“Now lord and light, he'll atone for everything
And his loathing must be for everything
He'll choose a path to the ache of everything
He is the path to the end of everything”


user ratings (155)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
parksungjoon
August 11th 2020


22191 Comments


Interesting

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MO
August 11th 2020


23043 Comments


Great band. Stoked to jam this

Slex
August 11th 2020


10405 Comments


Awesome album

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TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2020


15116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great jam. Opener and Years in Frigid Light are among my favorite songs.

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Durrzo
August 11th 2020


2248 Comments


I reeeeally like their harsh vocalist's tone and delivery. The cleans drag it all down for me though. I can't say that I have ever listened to a band with a progressive metal label and enjoyed the singing. Still, I enjoyed this overall.

YuriZakhaev
August 12th 2020


672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Monstrous album. This honestly doesn't feel like 50 minutes at all

Peeps99999
August 12th 2020


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band is finally living up to the potential they showed on Song of the Crippled Bull.

RuthlessTesticle88
August 12th 2020


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Easily my favourite album since Song of The Crippled Bull. They managed to concentrate everything good about their sound into this one. Peeps99999 I had the exact same thoughts. I've often felt that they were a great album away from breaking through to a greater level of recognition and success. So much talent!

SteakByrnes
August 12th 2020


21166 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I jammed these guys' discography yesterday, this and the EP are the strongest efforts for sure. The cleans remind me of the vocalist from Shokran

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MikeyPalmice
August 12th 2020


78 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

New version of "Years in frigid light" sounds good. "Bellow" is trash

SteakByrnes
August 12th 2020


21166 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol yea Bellow was an odd choice, sounded like a bad attempt at throat singing

Scheumke
August 13th 2020


1881 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Holy Silence is fantastic hot damn.

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Ray91
August 13th 2020


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whole record fucking slaps. Highlights for me being years, sun of war and holy silence (that ending whoaa)

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SacredSerenity
August 13th 2020


737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The more I hear this beast the better it gets

boristhebladexx
August 13th 2020


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

truly. it says something that the worst things about the record are "bellows" and the fact that the drummer isn't lyle cooper. its an absolute beast of a record.

TundraL5Z
August 16th 2020


5173 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Drum mixing kills it for me, but the songs just dont do much for me at all either

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Project
August 17th 2020


4441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is insanely consistent. Basically everything except Bellow is a hard 3.5/5. The problem is nothing _quite_ breaks through to the top-tier for me. The songwriting is fine, production is fine, the melodies are quite good for the genre, even the lyrics are decent...but it does start to feel homogeneous after a while.

TundraL5Z
August 17th 2020


5173 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

agree

bloodshy
August 17th 2020


2446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to listen to this 100x more before rating. Eh, fuck it. It's a 4 with 5 potential.

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kmagnum1x
August 17th 2020


459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is big not sure if the 5 will stick but it really hit me like the first time I listened to blackwater park



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