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Album Review: Black Crown Initiate’s Selves We Cannot Forgive Won’t Make You Feel Any Self-Loathing

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Black Crown Initiate are a band who became well-known in the metalshpere in an incredibly short amount of time. The Song of The Crippled Bull EP got rave reviews from most who listened to it in the online community and debut full-length The Wreckage of Stars was good, too. So do some of MetalSucks’ favorite progressive death metallers follow the trend of the sophomore slump after two much-loved releases? If you’re reading this as a BCI fan then you’ll be happy to know that no, there is no such slump on Selves We Cannot Forgive.

Black Crown Initiate and I have somewhat of a strange relationship. I absolutely love how crushingly heavy and crisp their sound is, but I’ve never really cared for the clean vocals in their songs, which can make listening to their music frustrating at times. I don’t care for the sound of Andy Thomas’ singing voice, but beyond that I felt that there are several moments on the album where the clean singing just felt forced into the music for no reason. It felt a lot like trying to watch some super dirty porn except your mom calls you every few minutes.

That said, the rest of the album is practically flawless and it’s very evident that the dudes in BCI worked their asses off on it. Opening track “For Red Cloud” and “Belie the Machine” have some incredibly catchy double bass/tremolo picking parts that will hook you like a fish, and “Transmit to Disconnect” is so fast that it would surprise me if a neck or two weren’t snapped in a failed headbang attempt.

The final word is that Selves We Cannot Forgive is a fantastic album, but if you, like me, are picky about clean vocals in metal then you might have a tough time getting into it. While I don’t much care for BCI’s cleans, the rest of the album is just so good I can put that aside. There wasn’t a single track I didn’t like other than “Fallen Angel,” which is a vinyl bonus track anyway. If you haven’t already listened to BCI, give them a chance; you’re in for one hell of a ride.

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