Crown the Lost
Blind Faith Loyalty

Over the past couple years, Cruz Del Sur has done a good job of establishing themselves as a top flight powerhouse of power and traditional heavy metal with the likes of Pharaoh, Slough Feg, Icarus Witch, and now with the addition of Pennsylvania’s Crown the Lost, their run of dominance in the genre(s) continues.

Now, this isn’t my normal mug o’ beer – I’m by no means an expert in power or traditional metal – but Blind Faith Loyalty is just screaming quality. The backbone of their traditional metal stylings is beefed up with sharper thrash like riffing courtesy of David E. Gehlke, giving the songs some extra bite than would normally be expected from an album as such. This is accented further by the slick and classy melodic leads of Joe Bonaddio, who also throws down an ample amount of flash and shred in the solo department. The proceedings are stepped up once again by a generally more battering drum performance (for the style) from Kevin Antonacci, displaying an excellent use of kick drum and cymbals. Vocally, Chris Renaldi commands a powerful and soaring clean voice which sits mostly in a mid range, but occasionally hits upon King Diamond like falsettos, which can take some adjusting to if you’re not expecting it (“Drawing the Parallel”, “Privation”). Bonaddio also contributes vocally with occasional growls on “Defame the Hypocrites”, “Finality”, and “Privation”, though these instances are sparse.

As for the songs themselves, there are no full on ballads or balls out thrashers, but rather most of the albums 10 tracks are very well balanced. Touching upon several tempos and a multitude of switch ups between the busy and the more spacious and laid back, the transitions are smooth and never dis-jointed. “Bound to Wrath” is probably the most immediately catchy track with it’s monster hook chorus and thick flowing melodies. Album opener “Defame the Hypocrites” gets a nod for being among the albums hardest hitting numbers, delivering a good deal of speed and punch with it’s thrash-y delivery. “Drawing the Parallel” follows suit in much the same fashion, but also adds an anthemic, soaring chorus. “Hollow Refuge” and the title track both house some of the albums finest guitar work with stout riffs and multiple solos loaded with feel. The former also displays another big, standout chorus while the latter breaks from the speed around the two-thirds mark with an epic-fucking-melody and infectious vocal harmonies.

My only real gripe with the album is the bass work of Shaun Gunter is too low in the mix. Sad, because the bass is usually one of my favorite aspects with this type of metal, but it’s just completely buried by everything else. Outside of this, the production is crisp and clean.

I’m still taken back a bit by how much I enjoy Blind Faith Loyalty – it actually has a strong chance of ending up in my top 25 at years end, which is quite a feat for a release of this ilk for me, considering the obscene amount of releases that I undoubtedly will have heard by then. I fully recommend them to fans of the genre, and I look forward to what they do next.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
May 10th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: ceno

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m looking forward to hearing this as I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be as good as you say. Cruz Del Sur is the label that I fully trust.


  2. Commented by: Jodi

    Cruz Del Sur consistently pumps out good stuff…can’t wait to hear this.


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