Crown the Lost - Reverence Dies Within
Self-released
Technical thrash with elements of melodic death metal and hardcore
9 songs (43'03")
Release year: 2006
Crown the Lost
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Let my update this week be a litmus test for how much our readers are interested in young do-it-yourself bands releasing their first records. We have had this ongoing debate on the MR team trying to decide where the proper balance lies between the established and the unsigned, especially in the age where any crew capable of setting a myspace.com page can also send you a fast fried demo.

On one hand I can’t blame the readers not viewing some of these reviews, as some of the backyard talent can really be rough, as evidenced by the couple of opening acts in Detroit I have recently witnessed at the Epica/Kamelot show. Pittsburgh, perhaps, is not Detroit, and Crown the Lost will surely outdistance many of the other young acts. Practice, as they say, makes perfect, and it is plenty of exercise Crown the Lost must have gone through before Reverence Dies Within saw the light of day.

There are instrumental intros to “set the mood” or to make an 8-track demo appear like a 9-track one. Devoid of All Praise is not one of them, it is about making the statement. The opening riff is still teasing my mind, ‘cause I certainly heard it before, but can’t seem to place it. Serious heavy chops follow. In the immortal words of Jon Schaffer: “Rhythm guitarist is only as good as his chops”. This is just in – David E. Gehlke is good. The rest of the Crown the Lost crew also showcases the tight troupe of instrumentalists with plenty of practice behind their belts, Devoid of All Praise rolling along with ascending chords, sliding arpeggios and even some extreme blastbeat drumming for good measure.

Chris Renaldi lends his vocals starting with Prelude to Fall, a racing Maidenish gallop with a modern attitude. The latter is present on the record, with some of the tough guy breakdown moments as in Your Faith is Not Mine, but most of the time Crown the Lost is a much older school traditional metal/thrash with 80s melodic sensibilities and some Swedish melodeath garnish. Whatever the style, and Crown the Lost is tough as hell to pigeonhole, the band can’t seem to sit straight. The songs evolve continuously. Serious manly syncopated chops switch over to roaring thrash and blastbeaty death bursts on No Reprieve. The title track pushes even faster and more aggressive side of the band in spots. Vocal melody floats over heavy riffs in Swear to the Peerless which also ends with a rhythm structure straight out of Steve Harris repertoire. The songs on the album can jackhammer one moment, Ryan Eicheldinger’s bass guitar strings popping, only to let Joe Bonaddio and Gehlke squeal out a lead (A Way Out of Madness) or harmonize one somewhere else (No Reprieve). It is a sign of unexpected maturity, however, that for all of the fret acrobatics the songs remain cohesive, Crown the Lost not pulling the strings for the sake of doing just that. These leads dazzle without being distractive.

Where I have a little bit of an issue is Chris’ vocals being somewhat moany. They say that the good clean vocalists have to sing in the extension of their normal voice, and perhaps Chris’ voice is simply of that nature. Yet I would prefer much more grit to go with Crown the Lost brand of technical thrash reminiscent a bit of Sacrilege. As of now, something that sounds like Michael Grant in Onward is not masculine enough for this record, and rare hardcore screams do not rectify that.

With Crown the Lost we have one more talented band which faces an uphill battle. Some of the other gems I thought I “uncovered” over the years faded into abyss (Michigan’s Summer Dying), others I have not heard from in the long time (New Jersey’s Beyond the Flesh). I hope the similar fate does not befall Crown the Last, but better that than to become another “Massachusetts style” hot and trendy band or scatter the ashes a la the latest Into Eternity. I will increase my quote by 5 points, if the band sends me the source of the opening riff in Devoid of All Praise so I can stop raking my brain.

Killing Songs :
Devoid of All Praise, Prelude to Fall, No Reprieve, Swear to the Peerless
Alex quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Crown the Lost that we have reviewed:
Crown the Lost - Blind Faith Loyalty reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
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