The last Crippled Black Phoenix release, the very impressive ‘New Dark Age Tour Ep. 2015AD’, concluded with a remarkable cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes’ and ‘Bronze’ begins with a track – ‘Dead Imperial Bastard’ – that seems to have grown organically from that piece.
Yet ‘Dead Imperial Bastard’ is not a template for ‘Bronze’, rather a launching pad from which Crippled Black Phoenix begin their latest exploration of sound.
Pink Floyd do, in many ways, feel like the only relevant point of reference for this album, but the comparison is to their spirit, ambience and sonic palette; subtle links rather than a suggestion of imitation.
To my mind ‘Bronze’ is Crippled Black Phoenix’s most complete and accomplished work to date. Wonderful pieces like ‘Rotten Memories’ draw you in and swallow you up.
You drift and dream within them, rather than listening from the outside.
Only the most potent and powerful music can consume you in this way.
In a less soulless age than this Crippled Black Phoenix would be so much more widely appreciated. I’d say that ‘Bronze’ is their masterpiece, but who knows what more they have yet to reveal?
Sometimes it seems, bronze is more valuable than gold.
– Chris Kee –
SOM debut Bronze begins with a quite calming and
spacey synth and soft beat track that
wouldn’t have been out of place on the
Drive soundtrack. The record continues on
a low heat – always immersive without letting
go. As the paradoxically soothing tones
of ‘Rotten Memories’ recede, nine-minute
epic ‘Champions Of Disturbance …’ marks the
shift to a more anthemic gear in which you
can almost feel a mid-period Anathema and
After another softer moment,
‘Turn To Stone’ picks us up and drops us in a
world where Ozzy-era Sabbath became
a blues-influenced post-rock band.
And yet, the final three tracks on the album are
way the real magic happens. The genuinely
tear-inducing ‘Scared And Alone’, with wind
backing and female vocals is like the best
song Jesse Sykes never performed, while
closing masterpiece ‘We Are The Darkeners’,
with Robert Holm’s heart-wrenching trumpet
contribution, makes the world around
you disappear and will be the sonic parasite
taking refuge in your brain for weeks to
I may well have to go back to 1997 and
Godspeed Your Black Emperor’s F# A# eo to
find a record which sparked such a transcendental
journey of build-up and release.
geoff birchenall 5.5/6