Review: “Elemental Binding” by Crown of Madness

Returning with a sophomore EP in “Elemental Binding” less than eleven months after they opened the gates of Hell and unleashed their debut “The Void” are dissonant Death Metal duo Crown Of Madness. That first effort from the Vancouver British Columbia Canada based pairing saw them bring forth elements of harrowing Black Metal, Technical Death Metal brutality and a lethal dose of melancholic sadness in perfect alchemy, interwoven with devastating lyrical themes. They claim that this new pain serves as a manifestation of the shape of things to come with a debut full length album said to be in the works. Whether that includes participation from live members Alex Nicol (guitars) or Richard Crowdis (bass) remains to be seen but for now Sunshine Schneider (guitar, vocals) and Connor Gordon (drums) hold the limelight…

…while that debut record saw the duo joined by a trio of guests, this new affair finds them joined by just one with Matthew Pancoust of Truent dropping a solo on “Immortal Eyes“. A vicious little ditty, it finds Gordon at his metronomic finest, his clean crisp drum sound providing an artillery shelling hellscape for Schneider to not only spit fire upon but bring some seriously meaty riffs to. Intriguingly while being punchy at the start, those riffs gradually bleed out into territory that is less distinctively Death Metal and instead tinged with Post-Hardcore isms. The melancholic almost shoegazing dull ache of “A Wrenching Nostalgia” is perfectly counterbalanced by the sheer power of it, the duo capturing the beauty and darkness often seen in nature and using it as they see fit. Where others would drift into clean vocals with sorrowful overtones, Schneider unfurls his wings and burns the ear canals with pure fury, his vocals almost opposing the lyrical narrative. There are a couple of cleaner (that’s cleaner, not clean), barked vocals which are less brutal than his usual choice but they offer no respite. The punishment continues with the Technical Death Metal onslaught of “Roots, Limbs and Sky“, Schneider reaching demonic levels of destruction by this point. Far from one dimensional, he adds leads, tapping sections and alternating backing vocals in a shriller tone that give the impression of two vocalists where there are in fact one. All of those elements give the recorded works a more rounded feel while making it obvious why more musicians are required to perform the material live. “Vile Sun” completes this short and yet oh so sweet piece of work from self immolation seeking individuals who bring utter devastation with their sonic abrasions. Blast beats soaked in sorrow and dark melody cut through like a chainsaw, the presence of mid to follow through this vision to the bitter end to be applauded [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Immortal Eyes (ft. Matthew Pancoust of Truent)
2. A Wrenching Nostalgia
3. Roots, Limbs and Sky
4. Vile Sun

Elemental Binding” by Crown of Madness is out 23rd February 2023 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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