REVIEW: BLACK CROWN INITIATE – “Selves We Cannot Forgive”
Black Crown Initiate are set to return with their latest effort that wields the strong title ‘Selves We Cannot Forgive’. The record follows the groups first full-length debut, ‘The Wreckage of Stars’, and it would seem the band welcomes a particular breed of listener. This assumption comes off the back of their own description were they beckon “those who descend into the darkest subterranean of the art form’s most aggressive nihilism, only to soar under protection of a meditative cloak of aural pleasure, are those who may share in near-supernatural wonder and inward carnal primitivism alike found within the progressive death metal of Black Crown Initiate“. In other words folks, they are an acquired taste! Sometimes saying less is more and sometimes having a word-smith on standby does not necessarily mean you are going to get the awesome description you had hope for. Case in point.
To be frank, there is really very little one will find in ‘Selves We Cannot Forgive’ that you cannot find elsewhere. From Opeth to Dream Theatre alongside Tool and so on, there are indeed admirable comparisons. The more instrumental sections even have the subtle touch of God is an Astronaut, a comment strictly meant as complimentary. However any real sense of individuality comes only from brief moments found in tracks such as “Again”, “Selves We Cannot Forgive” and in particular, unarguably the albums standout track “Vicious Lives”.
It would be difficult to suggest any honourable mentions as the rest of the record very much blends together with Black Crown‘s heavier side which all feels like a lot of the same in repetition. The dual vocals are in a constant battle with one another also and do not feel as if there is any unity between the two. Guitarist, lyricist and clean vocalist, Andy Thomas is truly a cut above the rest in both the heavier and more sombre song parts handling the regular diversity within the tracks masterfully. This is not to say duel vocals do not or cannot work. They can and have many times over! Here unfortunately, they do not.
Never quite achieving the high kudos it dishes out to itself, ‘Selves We Cannot Forgive’ may find a home in the hearts and stereos of the bands very specific group of fans. What one outside of this elite membership can expect is an album with some strong moments that pats itself on the back a bit too much. When all is said and done, technically and audibly you have a fine though very, very standard metal album that does not deliver on its own self praise.