August 14, 2014 Crown the Empire – The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways (Album review)
Crown the Empire is no longer the musical newbies in the punk rock, post-hardcore scene. Every since the release of their breakthrough 2012 album The Fallout, a Rise Record deal, and two Warped Tours, the six-piece Dallas-native group has created enough hype over their future to last a lifetime. From concept albums about nuclear doomsday to thrilling performance theatrics, the group has shown no plans of toning down their dramatic style with their sophomore album. The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways acts as a sequel for Crown the Empire’s fictional world created in The Fallout, taking place hundreds of years after the initial destruction, and follows the story and efforts of Runaways; a group of rebels that overthrow repressive regimes.
Over the course of thirteen tracks, Crown the Empire refines and polishes their post-hardcore style to a sparkling finish with songs such as “Initiation”, “MNSTR”, “Maniacal Me”, and “Bloodline.” By combining strong metal riffs and heavy basslines, with new and improved melodies and strange vocal overlays, voices, glitches and sirens, these songs effectively remind listeners what Crown the Empire is known for and which fans have come to love and expect. These tracks both musically and lyrically brew a vivid image of world destruction and fear, while giving listeners fast-paced, end-of-the-world danger and excitement.
These glitches and aggressive pace are toned down in exchange for a stronger theatrical sound. Full choirs, strings quartets, and piano are utilized heavily in “Call to Arms (Act I)”, “Wolves in Paris (Act II)”, and “Satellites (Act III).” These ‘act songs’ build suspense, develop themes of hope and loss, while pulling together the finishing touches of the album and completing the albums story. “Satellites (Act III)”, in particular, can be noted for having some of the most amazing combinations string pieces and vocals on the album.
Meanwhile, songs like “Millennia”, “Rise of the Runaways”, and “Machines”, work with a more refreshing rock style. Aggressive screaming vocals and hardcore guitar riffs are traded for softer, yet still strong and emotional vocals, by both Andrew Velasquez and the refreshing addition of David Escamilla. Velasquez and Escamilla take liberties in experimenting and creating new emotion and life to their vocals. These songs dance along the border of Crown the Empire’s genera and style.
In addition, guitarist Ben Suede’s solo on “Millennia” and “Rise of the Runaways” alone is so refreshing and strong that fans of Crown the Empire are swooning for the future of the band’s potential sound. Each of these songs is framed by rolling snares, unique harmonies, and hair-raising basslines, which, when paired with heartfelt and relatable lyrics, provide a quality of promise, resilience, and danger to each song.
Over all, Crown The Empire’s The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways utilizes every talent from The Fallout while taking a major step towards a more refined and more mature sound. Glitches, choirs, creepy pianos, group vocals, it all comes together in some songs, and backs off in others, proving to listeners that it’s out with the old and in with the new for the group of six, and only time will tell what direction Crown the Empire’s sound will take in the future. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.