Crown the Lost
Cold Pestilent Hope

I’ve always dug what Crown the Lost has done and find it relatively unique, yet comfortably familiar. The Pittsburgh act’s style could generally be described as power thrash, although their knack for muscular riff chunk-age and shredding leads, whilst carrying the melody with traditional heavy metal singing, helps set them apart from the herd. It’s not so much that the style is original as it is demonstrative of a skillful filtering and translation of influences into an approach that is identifiable only as Crown the Lost.

I was quite fond of sophomore effort Blind Faith Loyalty (Cruz Del Sur) for all of these reasons, my only complaint pertaining to Chris Renaldi’s one dimensional vocals and what seemed like difficultly in matching the singleness of pattern in his head to that of the song itself. New throat-master Leon Mallah brings a similar sound, but a bit more inflectional variance, and a sense of patterning more fitting to the actual songs of new album Cold Pestilent Hope.

Stylistically, the songs of this third album aren’t a dramatic departure from Blind Faith Loyalty, which demonstrates comfort and confidence in the Crown the Lost approach, rather than lack of creativity. In fact, the more you listen the deeper these songs sink into the psyche, perhaps even more so than Blind Faith Loyalty. That’s certainly the case with the sheer amount of rhythm guitar riff heft and lead guitar fireworks, courtesy of David E. Gehlke (also a long time metal journalist of some acclaim) and Joe Bonaddio, respectively. Between all that guitar tonnage and the tight-ass – “ass” indicative of a greater degree of tightness than usual – rhythm section of drummer Argel Marchelletta and bassist Tim Boyle, as expertly produced with crispness and punch by Dave Watson (Argus, Mantic Ritual, Hero Destroyed), Cold Pestilent Hope begs to be played at high volume, thereby resulting in maximum listener head-crush.

As usual, filler is nowhere to be found. Crown the Lost is a band that understands what it means to be consistent in songwriting. The highlights are many, including a super cool, deliciously taut ‘n crunchy instrumental opener “Pray for Death,” as well as songs like “Separate Blood from Waste,” “Breathe into Emptiness,” “In Defiance of Sanctity” (probably the highlight hook), “Eyes Without Sight,” “Bloodsoaked Serenity,” and a killer six-and-a-half minute title track. Right, that’s most of the album; my point exactly. Another instrumental called “Solitude and Failure” is righteous too, the band possessing a rare ability to make instrumentals just as appealing as the vocal-infused tunes.

There really isn’t anything here about which one could truly bitch. I suppose there is still a wee bit of room to improve in the vocal patterning department, but I can’t say it’s anything I thought much about, particularly after the first couple of plays. The bottom line is that Crown the Lost continue to release quality albums and deftly balance the aggressive with the traditionally melodic without sacrificing the power of either. Good stuff indeed. Check it out and support; it is your duty as people of metal.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
October 18th, 2011

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