The reagents of steel from Pittsburgh - Crown The Lost - deliver their loyal debut with a binding faith in Power Thrash Metal. The sulfurous state of Pennsylvania has definitely released some intoxicating bands this year, with Mantic Ritual, Believer, Crown The Lost, and soon Thresher, all keeping it true.
I have not heard their 2006 self-release - Reverence Dies Within. Lately, A great deal of buzz has been generated about this band. They can be viewed as dramatically drawing the parallel to another renown label mate of theirs - Crescent Shield, who's new album is due out this summer. I would also postulate a comparison to Canada's Antiquus.
Power chord vocalist - Chris Renaldi - has a musical inflection very similar to Michael Grant. The music follows the precedent established from Mr. Grant's coterie of mettle accomplishments; especially, his defining work with Ownward, and to a certain degree - Cypher Seer.
Chris does attain some high, corybantic cries, through his refined tone; which puts him in a symbiotic relationship with Pharoah's own Tim Aymar. I also detect a bit of Bobby "Leather Lungs" Lucas - whos accomplishments with Overlorde, or early Seven Witches are stellar. Songs like -Bound To Wrath and Symbiotic - will compose your ears to this congruence.
The opener - Defame The Hypocrites - sets the pace for what can be described as aggressive, guitar driven, die-hard, reverential Metal. Concluding with the tantalizing title track, this is a bonafide achievement. When I play this CD, I'm transported back to the late '90's when Destiny's End, Jag Panzer, Jacob's Dream, and Agent Steel were releasing attributive feats of fantastic fulfillment.
The songs are arranged with technique, and flair. The compositions appear to be increasingly inspired by Armored Saint, Metal Church, Virgin Steele, or Vicious Rumours; suffused with the newer sounds of Iced Earth, Nevermore, Symphony X, and perhaps, even - Radakka.
Guitarist - Dave Gehlke - shares another common trait with Pharaoh's lore, as he used to write for the now inactive Metal Maniacs Magazine. The guitar work is quite accomplished, and proficient. I'm reminded of the heavy hylic style of Toby Knapp, the punctuated poise of Michael Romeo, and the april whine of Jack Frost. There is an effulgence of shimmering leads, suggesting no deprivation of stalwart solos.
Infelicitously, the harsh vocals mixed with such elevated histrionics, are often too tedious, and wearisome. This is to be expected with - Into Eternity, 3 Inches Of Blood, or Seven Kingdoms - but not a band of this ilk. Songs like - Finality and Privation - needlessly suffer from superfluous grunts and growls; otherwise, they could have been pure Priest and Maiden heavenly attributes.
As there is an argosy of bands who revert to this inchoate babble, due to lack of vocal technique, and an inability to sing clean, and clear, there is no need for this shallow refuse, with a band who clearly transcend the mundane.
However, if you do not attend to this as a fault factor, fans of Children Of Bodom, Arsis, Gojira, and Book Of Black Earth will be drawn to their progressively, dynamic, technical edge.
The production is adequate, given their budget. Personally, I appreciate everything this band is being; especially, boldly playing in this, oft' times, overlooked mode. Unfortunately, as much as I try to imbue the melodies in my mind, they just don't adhere with any viscosity. This listlessness also occurred with the last Crescent Shield album.
At least, Crown The Lost do rightfully deserve the lasting
laurels for keeping American Metal alive; especially, among the young