Although 2014’s ‘The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways’ set Crown The Empire apart somewhat with its conceptually driven theatrics and kitchen sink approach, the Texan sextet are all about wide-screen, arena ready tunes. Departing slightly from their token brand of Hollywood melodrama, third full-length ‘Retrograde’ may not quite live up to the lofty ideas of its predecessor, instead shifting focus to writing the most straight-forwardly colossal songs of their career thus far.
That being said, there remains plenty flagrant ambition from Crown The Empire, the likes of ‘The Fear Is Real’ and ‘Lucky Us’ with their apocalyptic thud and digital, dystopian heaviness ramping up the atmosphere tenfold, yet it is when the band begin to scale back that their ability to pen an explosive hook is truly able to shine through, with ‘Hologram’ and ‘Weight Of The World’ probably the most infectious that Crown The Empire have ever been.
Indeed, perhaps the biggest distinction with ‘Retrograde’ is not that the band’s technicolor sonic vision has not been diminished, but refined. Making room for punishing metalcore steel (‘Aftermath’), arms aloft pop-rock (‘Signs Of Life’), touches of piano tinkering and voice-over dramatics, Crown The Empire are still furrowing their own individual path, just sharpening and polishing with every step of the way, and, on this evidence, with increasing bombastic results. Like a glorious collision between ‘The Black Parade’-era My Chemical Romance and later day Slipknot (with a dose of Panic! At The Disco thrown in for good measure), ‘Retrograde’ is every bit as unique and as captivating as it sounds.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)