Crippled Black Phoenix’s Ellengaest: scabrous diatribes and emotional devastation on majestic new album

Post-rock mavericks Crippled Black Phoenix rise above turmoil the help of all-star guests on new album Ellengaest

Crippled Black Phoenix: Ellengæst album cover
(Image: © Season Of Mist)

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Despite another line-up change, Crippled Black Phoenix have conjured their most cohesive and emotionally devastating record here. With vocal contributions from the likes of Gaahl, Tribulation’s Jonathan Hultén and Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh, Ellengæst certainly doesn’t lack class or charisma, but it’s the monstrous, crestfallen beauty of these songs that will cement the album as a clear career high point, albeit among many. It begins with ghostly trumpet, before House Of Fools erupts. A snarling, scabrous prog-folk diatribe, led by Cavanagh and CBP mainstay Belinda Kordic, it has an air of Bad Seeds menace and a chorus to kill for. Lost is all edgy, post-punk rumble, billowing crescendos and shattered illusions; In The Night is a moonlit funeral, with Gaahl and Kordic delivering the last rites; Cry Of Love is a thunderous, none-more-timely plea for humanity. It’s all profoundly heavy and truly mesmerising.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.