Crippled Black Phoenix
Ellengaest


5.0
classic

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (94 Reviews)
October 9th, 2020 | 295 replies


Release Date: 10/09/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yesterday's gone, tomorrow may never come, so let's rejoice today with this hell of an album.

The folks at Crippled Black Phoenix are cat people. I have this in good faith, because I'm also one of them. That may be the reason I have connected with their music for such a long time, or maybe not, maybe it's because they are just a collective of amazing musicians and song writers. Since the project took shape in 2004 radiating from the mind of Justin Greaves through wild, shapeless ideas and blurry notions about what he wanted to do, the collective has tanked through a decade and a half with an outstanding output of quality releases and remarkable live performances.

It wasn't until last year that long-time guitarist and vocalist Daniel Änghede left the band, leaving a void in the core sound of Crippled Black Phoenix that was quite tricky to fill. Greaves and co. were faced with two possible options, find a replacement and keep going as nothing happened or make the project evolve to, maybe, what it was always supposed to be: a hydra of many heads.

In 2020, Crippled Black Phoenix surfaces from the ashes with a brand-new album and an incredible line-up of vocalists to give voice to the eight tracks that form Ellengaest, with full-time member Belinda Kordic stepping up as the main singer and showing she's more than capable to helm the ship with her expressive and enticing singing.

As such, Vincent Cavanagh from UK progressive legends Anathema, is the one in charge of starting things off with the explosive melancholy of "House of Fools". A wailing horn is soon crushed by a hammer of notes and then a Swan-esque, Cave-like beat takes over, with Cavanagh alternating between crooning and his usual belting in Anathema. As the rest of the tracks in Ellengaest, the length of the track allows for different dynamics to be put in play, and CBP are masters of this craft. The song halts mid-track, a simple piano line of three notes, the formerly crushed horn and a fastly picked guitar melody take the tune somewhere beyond, ending in the usual CBP grandiose fashion.

Gaahl, from black metal titans Gorgoroth and currently of Gaahls Wyrd makes a superb spoken word performance in third track "In The Night", setting the tone of Ellengaest, which is probably the darkest album of the band so far. The song is complemented with the mesmerizing voice of Belinda Kordic, who also fronts second track "Lost" with Anathema's Vincent Cavanagh taking the support role. Without spoiling the many surprises contained in these two tracks, I will just say that these first twenty plus minutes of CBP's latest release are among the best music that the band has ever produced.

For "Cry of Love", one of the first singles to be released and an ode to Willy, Nell and Tigger, may a paradise full of mice and things to scratch hold their feline soul, Greaves invited Ryan Patterson of Fotocrime (and also brother of Jaye Jayle's very own Evan Patterson) and rising star Suzie Stapleton, who has released also an amazing album this year titled We are the Plague, which I strongly recommend. "Cry of Love" sounds like a new wave anthem on galloping drums, with Patterson taking the lead on vocals and Stapleton joining in its heartfelt chorus, continuing with the dark theme that dominates the album, which is also illustrated brilliantly through the work of Thanasis Stratidakis and Benedikt Demme from Erebus Art.

One of the highlights of Ellengaest comes from a feature I was personally looking forward to when the album was first announced, and that is the one of Tribulation's guitarist Jonathan Hultén in the longest track of the album, the one titled "The Invisible Past". Clocking 11 minutes, the epic serenade starts with a spacious passage, with Hultén singing graciously over some simple guitar notes until the song builds around him in a way that recalls the best moments of CBP's past works like I, Vigilante. As expected, the song takes a heavy doom approach half way through where Hultén shines as a vocalist, something he already proved with an album of his own in March this year titled "Chants from Another Place", where he showed that apart from being a riff factory, he's also a very accomplished singer.

Ellengaest closes with a splendid cover of Bauhaus' "She's in Parties", which is the second of the two covers included in the album, the first one being "Everything I say", from American singer songwriter Vic Chesnutt, and both being voiced by Belinda Kordic delightfully.

Crippled Black Phoenix's ninth full-length adds to the UK collective's practically flawless catalogue, with an album that combines the band's majestic blend of post-rock, doom and dark Americana with a new and refreshing line-up of vocalists breathing life to one of the best releases of 2020.



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user ratings (123)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Strong candidate for AOTY, I can't get enough of it.



Couple of tracks available on BC: https://crippledblackphoenixsom.bandcamp.com/album/elleng-st



Papa Uni would have probably commented first saying some shit like "POSellengaest", so I did it for him, bless his soul.



Hope you guys enjoy the album.

Digging: Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengaest

paradoxical
October 9th 2020


14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The first two tracks with Vincent made me ache for Anathema's yesteryears. If and when they return from their hiatus, I hope they can learn from these two tracks.



I was at 4.5 for the first 3 tracks, but track #4 onward waned my interest a bit. Overall, a very enjoyable album.

Digging: Takatak - Acrophase

EoinCofa
October 9th 2020


473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah!!!!!!

Digging: Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengaest

bloodshy
October 9th 2020


2449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey a thing i have to listen to

Digging: HEALTH - DISCO4 :: Part I

Evok
October 9th 2020


8240 Comments


Nice write-up. This has me curious since Great Escape was quite good iirc.

Digging: The Who - Live In Hyde Park

Slex
October 9th 2020


10405 Comments


Never checked these guys before but was interested in this and this makes me even more ready for a go

What a great write up dude

Digging: Gulfer - Gulfer

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers homies, get on this, it's so damn good.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Did a little ninja edit to the last para to add the slight alt-country/americana infuence on these guys' music. It's all over it and it fits so nicely.

Observer
Emeritus
October 9th 2020


8563 Comments


Need. God I love the music 2020 is dishing us. Whoa, surprised I, vigilante doesn’t have a review

Digging: The Trees And The Wild - Zaman, Zaman

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, it's all yours Observer ;)

chemicalmarriage
October 9th 2020


3230 Comments


Goin to be jammin this in the A.M.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2020


12016 Comments


This looks like something I'd enjoy, and it's always nice to listen to some Vinnie.

Great read, Dewi.

Digging: Winter?s Verge - The Ballad of James Tig

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks manosg, the tracks with Vincent, specially the opener wouldn't feel out of place on a Anathema album, hope you enjoy it!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2020


5236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! I can't say I don't miss Daniel's lovely voice, however, the guests did an excellent job. I dig the goth vibe, a vocal contribution from Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch would have made so much sense here (on 'Cry of Love' especially IMO)!!

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

omg yes, that would have been so good, but who knows, maybe in the future!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2020


5236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lost and The Invisible Past are so good as well, it took a few listens to get into them.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There's a lot of details, the album sounds amazing. Jonathan Hulten and Gaahl's features are so fucking good. Vincent Cavanagh also shines, but the real winner in all this is Belinda, so thankful she took the spotlight, love her style.

bloodshy
October 9th 2020


2449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the heavy drums and post-y guitar are so nice. all the elements individually don't sound very dark, but it's very dark indeed.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2020


21930 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

They went with a semi-goth vibe at times and explosive post rock at others and the whole thing is just perfect. The only thing I am not fully convinced is the Bauhaus cover.

bloodshy
October 9th 2020


2449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, even without hearing the original, you'd be wondering why the song sounds so different... It straight up sounds like a cover.



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