Crown The Empire
Once upon a time, the term “metalcore” was reserved for bands that combined the ferocity of metal with the rage of hardcore. My, how times have changed. Crown The Empire, a seven-piece from Dallas, are an example of what’s being referred to as metalcore in late 2012, and it’s not pretty. Or, actually, it is pretty, and that’s just the start of the problem. Instead of mean, ugly, pissed-off venom we get pretty boys singing pretty songs, with the odd chugga-chug or hardcore bellow or death-metal growl thrown in. Also, there’s this unfathomable new production trend of adding in dubstep-style effects, which almost always end up sounding misplaced and, well, silly.
Years from now, metalcore historians (and we hope such a thing will exist) could point to the extended electronic effects run in “Memories Of A Broken Heart” and say that was the moment that metalcore, in its original incarnation, truly and finally died. Producer Joey Sturgis isn’t the antichrist or anything; his production job on The Fallout is full, deep and actually heavy. (Plus, the jury’s out on whether Sturgis was the guy who pushed for that dreadful skippedy-skip effect on “The One You Feed.”) It’s just that Crown The Empire sound like impressionable suburban kids who were perfectly content to hole around in their parents’ basements listening to their extensive My Chemical Romance iTunes collections while doing their hair for the school dance that night when, wait a minute, “Dude, have you fuckin’ heard the Word Alive?” Then everything changed for them and they did a series of all-nighter Guitar Hero sessions to improve their dexterity so they could start a sick “metalcore” band.
Meanwhile, someone, somewhere, in some shack in the woods is frantically listening to Botch, Knut, Crowpath, Breach, early Dillinger Escape Plan and Deadguy/Kiss It Goodbye on a CD walkman with their last set of AA batteries, wondering where it all went horribly, inexplicably wrong.