Album Review // CROWN THE EMPIRE ‘Sudden Sky’
Exposing vulnerability without losing the devastating riffs, the new record from Crown The Empire sheds a new light on the band.
American rockers Crown The Empire take the meaning of ‘opening up’ to a whole new level with their newest album Sudden Sky. The album acts as a lens into the most intimate thoughts and feelings of the members to create a body of work that is sure to touch even the hardest of hearts and provide therapy and catharsis as it expresses universal anxieties. Explaining the album, the band says:
Our new album Sudden Sky is a digital representation of who we are at this moment in time. It captures our innermost fears and anxieties while questioning humanity and the chaos of the world we live in today. This urgent search for meaning taught us that the only way to truly be human is to be vulnerable. ‘Sudden chance and destruction will lead to your liberation…’
With a focus on the calamitous effects that technology can wreck upon our lives, opening (X) sets the tone for the album as vocalist Andy Leo narrates the questions and thoughts that nibble at his mind against an industrial backing accompaniment.
Plunging into 20/20, the signature cinematic flair of the band is brought into play as electronics are interweaved with annihilating riffs to create a symphony of sonics that will leave your world shaken. As blasting drum beats lead the charge on an unforgiving assault at the end, the emotional what i am picks up where the harshness trails off. Andy’s heart-wrenching vocals combine with the exposed lyricism to show off a more melodic side to the band’s catalogue, and leaves you bruised and tender in the process. BLURRY (out of place) continues in the same vein, with soft vocals filtrating through the verses before an impassioned chorus explodes in a flurry of fervent guitars and searching lyrics.
MZRY leaps into a varied and diverse soundscape, jumping from dark and ominous electronics to a soaring, grandiose chorus. The track is one of the finest examples of the theatrics commanded by Crown The Empire, and as you follow the modulation from minor to major keys and back, you’ll feel yourself completely captivated by the ride, hairs standing on end in anticipation of what’s next. Meanwhile, SEQU3NCE distils the dark essence that’s been creeping throughout the album, the shadow of doubt that always lives in our minds and transforms it into an angry rebellion of low-tuned guitars and fierce vocals. Playing upon the idea of anxieties driven by technology, the track is the inflamed reaction towards it; calling for you to ‘disrupt the sequence’, it’s a hot-blooded call to arms.
The album isn’t all unbridled emotions being let loose in an obliterating fashion though, as Under The Skin and March Of The Ignorant takes a more subtle approach with tinkering keyboards and a gentler accompaniment. The former layers on suspense with orchestral string flourishes and dramatic bass drum beats, whilst the latter lulls you into a false sense of security before the exhilarating finale of Sudden Sky rips through.
On this album, Crown The Empire confront their innermost demons and lay them out on the table and now, when it’s so much easier to feel isolated whilst being surrounded by technology, it’s refreshing to be reminded that you’re not the only one grappling with these feelings.