With the departure of David Escamilla in 2017 leading to bassist Hayden Tree and guitarist Brandon Hoover taking on his share of unclean and clean vocals respectively, Crown The Empire have re-aligned for fourth record, ‘Sudden Sky’.
Rounding out the group with drummer Brent Taddie and vocalist/programmer Andy Leo, the quartet deliver a pop-drenched iteration of metalcore.
This isn’t necessarily a negative; tracks such as ‘Red Pills’ meld the two styles together effectively with stop start guitars supporting Leo‘s strong hooks. Adding an intriguing palm-muted melody to offset the tracks galloping breakdown, this song proves that the group have perfected the style.
The same can be said for ‘Blurry (Out Of Place)’, a song that incorporates glitched samples and non-linear patterns into the bed of distorted guitars that drive the track. Enabling the momentum to rise and fall on a whim, Taddie creates a stunning impact towards the latter half.
The main charm of the record lies within its approach to melody and structure, with tracks such as ’20/20′ using the vocal refrain to drive it into a slow building burst of groove and layered synths. The same can be said for ‘What I Am’; economic yet effective, the track leans on tension to highlight the strengths of the solid chorus.
Whilst the record is at its best when focusing on the more melodic side, ‘SEQU3NCE’ delivers a snappy and aggressive burst of blast beats and distorted synths. Held up by a thunderous groove, Tree snarls and screams towards winding guitar solos and an abrupt end.
The album also holds its fair share of energy, but there are songs like ‘March Of The Ignorant’ that make it stumble and lose momentum. Steeped in new wave style synths and a dynamically reversed structure, it definitely outstays its welcome.
Ending on a high note, the album’s titular track sees us out, and straddles between swelling distortion and punk flavoured choruses. Crammed with blast beats, glitched screams, and boasting a strong vocal hook, the track closes the record with a sprint through melody and dynamics.
Whilst the record may not break new ground, nor does it see Crown The Empire work towards entering new territories, ‘Sudden Sky’ will surely please existing fans. That being said, with promise being shown throughout the record, it’s possible that we may see a different version of the group in the future.