Crippled Black Phoenix – Bronze

CBP Bronze

The new collection from Crippled Black Phoenix is another ambitious effort, but this one really pays off.

8 out of 10

Opener Dead Imperial Bastard starts as as the record means to go on. The only vocals in the whole track are the sampled speech at the beginning before the colossal atmospheric buildup begins. With layers of synthesisers stacked that continue and grow for minutes, it shows the band are serious about where this album will turn next.

Bronze as a whole has a huge variety of the material involved and its structure; many of the tracks are progressive and building, others are just quality rock tracks the whole way through with a solid groove. A prime example of the latter is Turn To Stone, which sounds like a psychedelic rock ballad of the 70’s and becomes a powerful instrumental groove.

Scared And Alone is one of the best tracks on the record overall though, as Daisy Chapman gets a turn to do the lead vocals. This leads to a haunting harmonised introduction verse and then to a choral sound with trumpets that is set to send shivers down the spine. The following instrumental is guitar and piano-heavy as the drums beat an atmospheric tom beat which leads into a cymbal-led section as the piano gives way to the synthesiser again. The break from Daniel Änghede’s vocals shows the way the group can change up their sound and have the sheer quality within their personnel to do so seamlessly.

Winning Is A Losing Battle also is a high point of the record. As the holder of probably the most psychedelic-feeling moments on the record, it gives a sense yet again of how diverse the band are. Perfect off-tuned vocal harmonies and the multiple-part structure give it a feeling of menace and danger throughout. The final three minutes of the song sum up the whole album well: ambient and chilled out, building, fantastic solid rock and back again.

Another notable positive is that the record flows through perfectly as one piece of music. The progressive nature of most of the tracks means that the fade in/out of most albums needs not apply as the tracks themselves change enough to make the whole piece an enjoyable listen. Any silences between tracks are only as noticeable as those within the songs, and this makes the collection feel a lot more cohesive than it may do had they been fully separated and faded.

Overall, there are only two words that can describe Bronze as a collection: bizarrely brilliant. Crippled Black Phoenix have created something here that seems to be the The Wall of their catalogue in the styling and the more dramatic feel than the previous material. This album will go down well with fans of the band for sure but looks set to win them many new fans, especially those who are fans of more progressive bands like Pink Floyd and even Soundgarden.

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