Crippled Black Phoenix – Great Escape

[Season of Mist, 2018]

Εισαγωγή: Christos Minos
20 / 12 / 2018

With this year’s Great Escape, Crippled Black Phoenix reach their eleventh official album release. Having consolidated their personal style into dark psychedelic music with progressive and post-rock elements, they do not detract from this. With a duration of over an hour, the album is an ambitious project. But does the music of the album have the potential to support it?


 

The same recipe doesn’t always deliver

The strange cover portraying a horse flying in the air gives the sense of escape that the title and content of the album want to express. The words of philosopher Alan Watts introduce the basic idea: the need to deviate from social norms tjat condemn differentiation. What happens in the songs that follow is the confession of a wounded mind trying to discuss with the listener explaining what they actually hear. Justin Greaves tries to find a way out of the dark paths of his mind and to express his anxieties without hesitation. What he seeks is to heal his wounds and the right to be able to do so with no shame.

The lyrical content of the album is therefore strongly emotionally charged and the music tries to follow their spirit. To You I Give is a beautiful dark piece, the melancholic melodies of which are seductive in the almost ten minutes of its duration. The instrumental Uncivil War sinks us even deeper into the atmosphere of the album. Upon the electronic melodies, the scattered prog elements, the mainstream rock sounds, the post-rock element and the Pink Floyd influence (the three-part sel-titled song is almost a tribute to them), Crippled Black Phoenix try to create their own environment of this purely introvert album. The problem that occurs as the music flows is that it succumbs to the weight of its long duration. Many tracks of the record sound relatively uninteresting and the experiments on which they rely are not convincing for their success.

Nevertheless, undoubtedly there are remarkable songs such as Times, They Are A’Raging or Slow Motion Breakdown (the heaviest track of the album) are a minority compared to the several other rather uninteresting ones. From one point onwards, Great Escape kneels under its self-reference: it tries to express more than it can musically support. In the end, the impression created is that it is an album that can hardly keep the listener interested.

To be honest, I never considered Crippled Black Phoenix a great band. Their long discography includes many interesting albums that, like the one presented here, suffer from contradictions. Good songs and quite indifferent ones do coexist, creating a result that unfortunately does not go beyond mediocrity. Great escape is not an exception.

6 / 10

Christos Minos

 

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