Black Crown Initiate wows on LP3, “Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape” (review)

A band I’ve seen mentioned in conversations of metal before but never got around to checking out was Black Crown Initiate. On the surface, I couldn’t surmise their exact genre/sound, but one preview of the new record and I could tell I’d be in for a great listen.

Black Crown Initiate scratches that heavy Opeth itch I’ve had for years. With an unparalleled versatility, songs off Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape are a marvel to listen to as someone that aches for instrumental complexity.

This is evident from the get-go in the eight-minute opener, “Invitation.” With periods of slamming double bass and deep growls, the juxtaposition of soft acoustic makes the long runtime feel like a journey. There’s an equivocate amount of talent on display between the clean and unclean vocals, and a healthy mix of the two in Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape.

“Trauma Bonds” almost sounds like a Deftones/Chevelle song to start, then the thrashing riffs ensue. The long song lengths on Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape help tell the stories in descriptive detail, and have ample variety so as not to bore the listener.

The blistering pace of the strumming/double bass is matched by the creativity in the guitar riffs and song structure. There are even curveball moments, like the outro guitar run in “Years in Frigid Light” reverberating between both my left and right headphones while a crushing guitar section is layered on top of it before a didgeridoo of all things closes the song.

The only issue I could take with an album of this magnitude is that it isn’t an accessible listen. Black Crown Initiate is best enjoyed with full immersion, and you can’t get that in a drive-to-work listen or showing a friend that doesn’t have the devotion to attention. Nevertheless, this doesn’t detract from the artistic talent on Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape.

It’s hard to find glaring flaws in prog death such as this, as the deliberate nature in composition and complexity makes these listens fascinating and captivating. Black Crown Initiate is no exception, and it’s evident that a lot of time and work went into Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape, with a front-to-back that doesn’t warrant a single skip.

Rating: 9/10

A press copy of Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape was provided courtesy of SpeakEasy PR.