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Black Crown Initiate - Biography




Every year, an "it" band or the "buzz" band emerges in the hard rock and metal scene. It's the band that has everyone talking, from fans engaging in discussions deep in the digital space and on the viral online level to the industry insiders that are tracking the band's every move and charting its growth.

Progressive death metal Black Crown Initiate have proven themselves to be that band in 2014.

But it's not a fleeting status nor are they a "here today, gone tomorrow" product of hype. Black Crown Initiate have the metallic chops, the surgically precise skills, and a firm grasp of mind-blowing dynamics, all of which come together to cement their status as a band to watch for years to come, not just in 2014.

Armed with the independently released, four-track and 22-minute Song Of The Crippled Bull EP and a coveted spot on the Metal Alliance Tour, Black Crown Initiate steadily built a name for themselves with a DIY ethos throughout 2013. While many bands pay lip service to that concept, Pennsylvania's Black Crown Initiate, who craft thinking man's hard rock that's heavier than granite and that is smart without being esoteric, were too busy doing it instead of saying it. They caught the attention of several labels with their potent and unforgettable extended play release, eventually signing with eOne in 2014.

Their label debut The Wreckage Of Stars is the next step for Black Crown Initiate and one that will further put them on the metal map. It's a sonically thrilling, 10-song opus, drafted by musicians who embrace the darkness and who masterfully craft mini-epics; most songs exceed the five-minute mark. From the opening salvo of "Great Mistake", with its heavy artillery riffing and torrent of thunderous percussion, which sound like detonated bombs, to the dirgey hymn that is the title track, to the nightmarishly fast and fierce "Shapes Collapse", The Wreckage Of Stars will establish Black Crown Initiate as one of metal's finest up-and-comers.

Guitarist/clean vocalist/lyricist Andy Thomas reveals that his band, which formed in February 2013 and experienced minor lineup changes before solidifying into the unit it is today, chose to put their debut EP out via Bandcamp and iTunes, letting it marinate and find an audience and industry buzz organically, as opposed to pounding the pavement to secure a deal. That approach allowed Black Crown Initiate to retain their artistic integrity.

Now, with a new label deal in hand, Black Crown Initiate continued on the path that got them where they are and that's making the kind of music they want to make. Aesthetically, their foundation is heavy metal, but they seek to expand on that sound with increased attention to dynamics and other provocative elements, like posing poignant lyrical questions that will make the listener think, re-think and think it over some more.

Being adult about their musical approach means having the courage to explore things in the space of the songs and to not be afraid to go where they are least expected to go.

The members of Black Crown Initiate have been in different projects, both separately and together. But they have an understanding which unifies them and that's the Friedrich Nietzsche theme of eternal recurrence, which theorizes that the universe is recurring and that it recurs an infinite amount of times. The Wreckage Of Stars explores other topics, but there is a consistent thematic thread and lyrical connective tissue. So the band is maintaining continuity while expanding and branching out.

Thomas admits he takes inspiration from philosopher Nietzsche and The Nihilist and that he embraces his views about liberation. While the EP explored Hindu symbolism, with the title being a reference to the last age before the universe summarily destroys then restores itself, there is also some Buddhist symbolism on the new album. But Black Crown Initiate don't merely offer a mild or careless interpretation of these concepts. They admit to trying to figure them out in the confines of their music.

Clearly, Black Crown Initiate are making intelligent metal that will take the listener places they never expect and force them to ask a lot of tough questions.