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Category Archives: 3.5 Stars

Crippled Black Phoenix – (Mankind) The Crafty Ape

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Genre: Post-Progressive, Post Rock

Making the shift from doom architects to melancholic prog supergroup might seem like an unreasonable stretch, but to the members of Crippled Black Phoenix it’s a change which has come effortlessly. Once a below-average stoners hindered by the process of saving the best material for their day jobs (Electric Wizard, Mogwai and Teeth of Lions amongst others) the progress on this, their 5th album, is that of an artist finding direction and exploring new ground.

Hidden are the fuzzed riffs and monotonic vocals of previous releases, replaced instead with King Crimson experimentation and Eloy soundscapes. And though the sweeping 10-minute entrance of The Heart of Every Country may hint solely at an obsessive cult of David Gilmour worshippers, it’s all held together in a particularly modern way. Depending on preference, however, this grungy exterior is also most likely where listeners will find that the album’s weakest points lie.

Divided into 3 sections, (Mankind) The Crafty Ape is occasionally erratic and predictably lacking cohesiveness – its 86 minutes often blend together in a wearisome daze – but it’s an assured effort from an improving band and there’s enough to satisfy fans of progressive and modern rock alike.

The concept of 3 parts may seem daunting and exhausting but, much like reaching the end of an epic movie or a trilogy of novels, perseverance is presented with a mostly rewarding experience.

For fans of: Anathema, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Recommended Track: Operation Mincemeat

Released 30th January

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