Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crown The Lost - Cold Pestilent Hope

Crown The Lost
Cold Pestilent Hope
Gas Can Music

Two years after the release of their critically acclaimed second full-length effort ‘Blind Faith Loyalty’, Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, U.S.) based power/thrash metal outfit Crown The Lost are back with their highly anticipated new release ‘Cold Pestilent Hope’.
A lot has changed within Crown The Lost since their last album, with the line-up of the band undergoing a huge makeover prior to entering the studio, leaving founders/guitarists Joe Bonaddio (Who plays lead, and provides additional vocals) and David E. Gehlke (Rhythm) the band’s sole remaining original members.
Joining Bonaddio and Gehlke is vocalist Leon Mallah (Who prior to joining the band, was primarily a guitarist), bassist Timothy J. Boyle (Who previously played guitar in Grave Desire) and drummer Argel Marchelletta. Under normal circumstances, replacing half of the band would generally result in a drastic change of sound and direction. But that’s not the case for Crown The Lost, with ‘Cold Pestilent Hope’ sounding very much like a natural progression from where the band last left listeners on ‘Blind Faith Loyalty’.
As if to prove that the band have not lost anything with the change of members, the revamped Crown The Lost open up their latest album with ‘Pray For Death’ – a downright groove based thrashing two and a half minute instrumental piece that showcases the band’s ability to totally shred (Especially on the lead guitar front), while maintaining a sense of catchiness and hook for the listener to really latch onto.
It isn’t until the follow on track ‘Separate Blood From Waste’ that we finally get to hear what Mallah has to offer up. On the surface, it would appear that the differences between Mallah and former vocalist Chris Renaldi are minimal at best. But after repeated listens, it soon becomes clearer that while there is a similarity in sound, Mallah does have a slightly broader range, which means that most of the issues I had with Crown Of Lost’s last album (A vocalist who was sometimes a little monotone in his approach) have been well and truly addressed. Musically, things have changed as well, with the band refining their song writing where the overall song structure seems to flow with a bit more thought into utilising the riff structures to their full extent, and allowing the choruses to really stand out. In other words, the focus seems to be more on writing songs, rather than simply dazzling the listener with their technical abilities, which means that songs resonate more and remain memorable long after they’re finished.
In terms of highlights, ‘Cold Pestilent Hope’ has plenty of great songs throughout. But those worthy of singling out include the ‘Breathe Into Emptiness’ (One of the select tracks where Mallah really shows what he’s capable of on the vocal front), the strong grooved based instrumental thrasher ‘Solitude And Failure’, the aggression driven title track ‘Cold Pestilent Hope’ and the duality of genres (The shift between melodic power metal and modern thrash) within the closing track ‘Inexorable’.
Although Crown The Lost has borne the brunt of some line-up upheavals within the last year, you certainly wouldn’t know it after giving ‘Cold Pestilent Hope’ a listen. If anything, Crown The Lost have taken bar set down by ‘Blind Faith Loyalty’ and raised it with their latest effort.
Overall, ‘Cold Pestilent Hope’ is another strong effort from Crown The Lost, and worthy of every bit of success it will no doubt achieve with the passing of time.

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© Justin Donnelly