As mainstream metal continues to chase its own tail, bands as imaginative and brave as Black Crown Initiate become even more deserving of our intention. With a sound that marries the deepest and darkest progressive metal with all manner of textural and structural detours, these hirsute Americans have conjured something fresh and compelling. Plus, they have amazing beards.
You may detect shades of early Opeth, recent Katatonia and even Gojira lurking within the songs on their debut album, The Wreckage Of Stars, but the sum of this band’s sonic parts is something laudably distinctive and frequently mesmerising, veering effortlessly from flagrant brutality to dense, melancholy atmospherics and back again, covering a vast amount of musical ground in between. Right now, there are precious few new bands that come close to this lot.