Crown the Empire is a band that seems to deliver, but not necessarily to the fans they expect. The Texas-native group’s newest and first album since the pandemic titled DOGMA dropped earlier this week to mixed reviews, most conveying a general feeling of disappointment and confusion to the lack of metal elements. The title track “DOGMA” incorporates more electronic bits than expected, but for followers of the members, this might have been expected. During the band’s off season, Crown’s bassist/vocalist Hayden Tree began posting his experimental music on Soundcloud under the stage name Munk, and giving any of it a listen or two would prepare you for what you might hear on this album.
While Crown the Empire has its roots in metalcore, they’ve been through the ringer in terms of finding an identity. From where they sit now, their throne isn’t in the metal community but in the age group they represent, constantly changing as the years progress. With sounds akin to early 2000s Gorillaz, their track “Superstar” (featuring Palaye Royal’s Remington Leith) is a miss for anyone expecting anything similar to previous drops. However, it’s a track that someone outside of the community might enjoy without knowing the band’s roots or designated genre. One can only describe DOGMA as a blend of metalcore and experimental electronic (think drum and bass loops and keytar samples).
If you’re looking for a sound similar to the early years like Johnny Ringo or Prisoners of War, you might be able to find a track or two on DOGMA to save like “In Another Life” (featuring Spiritbox’s Courtney LaPlante), “Someone Else”, and – depending on the person – “DOGMA”. The artistry lies in the storytelling of the tracks with music videos if you’re someone who needs visuals. As a fan, this album isn’t reaching heights that I would have wished it would, but I could cherry pick which tracks I’d recommend to who.
Despite mixed reviews, the vinyl edition DOGMA albums are sold out on Crown the Empire’s website.
- Black Sheep
- In Another Life (feat. Courtney LaPlante)
- Superstar (feat. Remington Leith)
- Dancing with the Dead
- Someone Else