Friday, December 7, 2018
Crippled Black Phoenix : " Great Escape"
This project of Justin Greaves the drummer for Iron Monkey and Electric Wizard, typically embarks on a more psychedelic rock vein. This is still the case with ample doses of progressive rock which is still in the 70s rock zip code. Melodic vocals and a bong laden mood, allow the opening song to coast with the relaxed Pink Floyd like vibe. "Madman" blends kraut rock with a more Queens of the Stoneage like groove. It works off of a space age tension. "Times They Are a Raging" is almost a ballad that reminds me of Porcupine Tree. It's emotive and really well preformed. Though lyrically a little more of a political metaphor than I might care for. At 11 minutes they have plenty of time to build into a more powerful harder hitting take on prog, while not a carbon copy it is a similar dynamic that is employed by Tool thought less explosive here.
"Rain Black,Reign Heavy" has a more country tinged folk vibe with female vocals taking center stage. It does build up into something more rock in the songs final moments. After a synth driven instrumental interlude they pick up where they left off while allowing the drugs to kick in on "Nebulas". I think this song is an excellent example of what they are capable when all of their sonic sides are represented. They even reach a hypnotic sonic space closer to Swans. "Las Diabolicas" drones on a tense rock riff while the vocals have a robotic effect on them. This is the most straight forward song on the album.
The first part of the great escape is so atmospheric it almost doesn't exist as a song. The second part is more substantial. It works off a blues tinged spacegroove with the smooth vocals sitting back into the song. Then the pause at the four and a half minute mark makes me wonder if this breather is a reason to justify a 13 minute song of it that should have been part two ending at that point and now we are onto what should be part 3? If you are into guitar solos there are some pretty outstanding ones. Not that guitar solos make or break a song in my book here. Not to mention the guitar solos pretty much rip David Gilmore off. I'll give this album a 9, when it comes to proggy rock these guys do it smoother than most.