The dark, broody start to ‘Stench Of The Iron Age’, the first track of Black Crown Initiate’s debut self-released EP Song Of The Crippled Bull, is just long enough to draw you into anticipating something in the post-Rock field. Maybe something in the Anciients ball park. Possibly a little Isis or Light Bearer. Subtle and building, the landscape dramatically shifts as the axe cleaves the coconut, spilling not sweet-milk, but the acerbic demonic, growled incantations of James Dorton, gobs of cancer spat over a cataclysmic riff, like Fleshgod Apocalypse shorn of symphony or classical enhancement, as calamitous drums drive a track that has moved from post-rock firmly into modern technical death metal.
But they’re not done, as the track mutates seamlessly into a ‘Leviathan’ of a clean middle section, disorienting before vomiting forth a closing section worthy of Gorguts’ Colored Sands opus.
All within one song.
If there is a criticism, it is in that schizophrenic nature of the beast, as songs mutate from Meshuggah 8-string chuggery, to Opeth meanderments ‘Ghost She Sends’, from metalcore, to black metal The ‘Mountain Top’, or clip from progressive Ihsahn (Eremita-era) jagged riffs, to sweet, minor chords and clean vocals, to pounding death metal (‘Song of the Crippled Bull’) and just when you think you have a handle on them, like a toddler with ADD they’ve ditched one thing to shout and scream at the next.
But it’s a minor grumble, as each section is expertly crafted, and the individual sea-changes seamlessly performed. The EP works as a long continuous suite due to the nature of their compositions and the regular style changes, each new song beginning from the womb of its’ predecessor.
Black Crown Initiate are neither technical nor progressive nor straight-ahead death metal, nor post-rock, nor-US doom, nor metalcore, nor black metal, nor djent. They are all of these. They are also highly promising and one to watch, for surely it can’t be long until the label sharks are circling and we are treated to a full length release.
Black Crown Initiate on Bandcamp