Black Crown Initiate's 'Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape' Is an Extreme Metal Triumph

Black Crown Initiate's 'Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape' Is an Extreme Metal Triumph
The biggest names in metal have been pretty quiet this year, at least where new studio material is concerned. There have been albums released by big bands of course, but not by anybody arena-fillingly huge in the genre. This isn't necessarily a bad thing — in fact, the upside to it is that it allows more attention to be given to mid-league metal stalwarts like Pennsylvania's Black Crown Initiate

Constantly touring since 2014, Black Crown Initiate had built up an impressive resume for a group only two albums in. The wait between their latest, 2016's Selves We Cannot Forgive, and Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape was long, but the band wasn't idle during this time. And besides, four years isn't too long a wait when it's for an album like this one. 

Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape is exactly the album that should propel Black Crown Initiate forward and cement them as a mainstay force in 21st century metal. Like their previous two albums, it blends several styles, from death metal to progressive metal, but the songs on this record sound more fleshed out, like the band took all the time they needed to get everything exactly the way they wanted.  

One of the best things about this record is that it doesn't wear out its welcome. Extreme metal albums can be overlong, and unfairly doom their last few tracks to not receive the same enthusiasm as the top halves. Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape is comprised of just nine tracks, and while they can be long songs, there's enough musical diversity on the album to keep it from dragging. 

This record is another triumph for metal in 2020. It will be an exciting day when we get to see Black Crown Initiate perform their new material live, but at least we have the album to listen to until then. (Century Media)