Crippled Black Phoenix – I, Vigilante Crippled Black Phoenix – I, Vigilante

Crippled Black Phoenix - I, Vigilante

Crippled Black Phoenix is an English super group consisting of members from seminal metal and post rock backgrounds; Mogwai, Iron Monkey, Electric Wizard and Portishead. Being a super group, the project had a admirable start followed by an unsteady early flight. The entire theme surrounding Crippled Black Phoenix is a collection of apocalyptic ballads which are influenced by early post rock groups such as Bark Psychosis and Talk Talk. Think of Explosions in The Sky with a grim outlook meeting a chipper version of Godspeed! You Black Emperor.

Crippled Black Phoenix’s 2006 release A Love of Shared Disasters was an exceptionally bleak and horrifying 76 minute odyssey if listened to in one sitting. Their sophomore follow-up; The Resurrectionists/Night Raider was a double LP stretching to a two hour zenith. Post Rock would be a suitable description for these records only in the fact that many of their songs are long and filled with instrumental passages. Quite frankly, I could see these tracks as pop songs just sung with a type of desperation and realization that the world is about to end. I, Vigilante is the third release coming in at a meager 48 minutes. Only two of their songs stretch past 10 minutes with the rest hovering around 6. I, Vigilante is Crippled Black Phoenix’s least epic album as it is their most focused.

There are the common elements of a Crippled Black Phoenix records; slow and elongated ballads with the familiar drone of antiquated instruments and whimsically bleak song titles. I, Vigilante never breaks from the major to minor chord progressions. In fact they seem to have built everything up on the major chords to introduce the minors with heartbreaking emphasis. The apocalyptic undertones are still present in that they have forced the band to abandon any sense of reason regarding their song structures.

Pink Floyd has always been an apparent influence for Crippled Black Phoenix but nowhere is it heard more than the album’s opener “Troublemaker.” The constant slide guitar on “Troublemaker” and the jammed out ending on “Of A Lifetime” makes I, Vigilante sound like Meddle played under a burning sky. It took Crippled Black Phoenix two albums to find their perfect place as a classic rock band influenced by the book of Revelation. Take the albums closer; “Burning Bridges.” This song is a sunny 60’s style pop melody could only be written by a super group that is comfortable in the fact that they have a backup plan if this doesn’t work. It is so bizarre, unfitting and admirable that a band actually went through the recording, mixing and mastering of this song to go at the end of this record. Burning Bridges and the obvious early progressive influence on I, Vigilante makes a late year surprise from a band who may or may not be fucking with all of us.

I, Vigilante makes so many unexpected turns I am almost fearful informing them they accidentally made a masterpiece. Their first two albums captured the essence of a Victorian funeral for an Irish immigrant. The theme was straightforward and poetic.
This one is just weird.
This one is incredible.

1. Troublemaker
2. We Forgotten Who We Are
3. Fantastic Justice
4. Bostogne Blues
5. Of A Lifetime
6. Burning Bridges

Crippled Black Phoenix - I, Vigilante, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2010-11-29T11:49:27-08:00 rating 4.2 out of 5

One Response about “Crippled Black Phoenix – I, Vigilante”

  • John Clark says:

    The preview song, “Of a Lifetime” is an amazing cover and it’s by (believe it or not) Journey from the self titled first album. I, Vigilante is truly wonderful and well worth a listen.