When I first heard that Crown the Empire was doing a reissue of their album The Fallout, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Though the album was great, it only came out a year ago; In this scene, at least, a year is not enough time for a popular album to drop out of the collective consciousness, especially with all of the live support the band has been doing for the album, including a run on Vans Warped Tour, as well as touring with bands such as The Word Alive and I See Stars.
However, the news that the band would be completely re-recording their EP Limitless was more than relevant to my interests. I decided to check it out. Rather than give another review of The Fallout, which a single internet search proved there were already many of, I’m going to instead focus on the band’s total do-over of Limitless on the latter portion of the album.
When I first listened to the seven re-done tracks, two things came to mind: 1, everything was down-tuned at least a full step (or so my more musical theory-savvy friends tell me. I just thought it was tuned lower), and 2, it was different. I wasn’t sure how I felt. Honestly, part of me was outraged. “How dare they change that thing I like?” I thought. “Things aren’t allowed to grow and evolve from how they were originally released two years ago!” After taking a minute to collect myself, I took a deep breath, and did the mature thing: I listened to the songs again, and realized… they’re good.
Every song on the album quickly found a snug place in my heart as guitarists Benn Suede (Bennett Vogelman) and Brandon Hoover’s groovy chugs and riffs blasted out through my headphones, and the rumbling hum of Hayden Tree’s bass hit me right in the chest. When I closed my eyes, I could practically see drummer Brent Taddie going crazy behind the kit as he played the songs with a force and precision that many drummers can only hope to achieve. The electronic elements apparent in most of the songs added a welcome high-end icing to the predominantly heavy low-end cake.
Personally, I thought that vocalist Andy Leo (Andrew Velasquez)’s voice seemed more at home in the lower tuning, as I listened to it ring out without a hint of straining, and I could tell that it gave him a lot more room to project and emote, especially on Lead Me Out of the Dark. 2012 addition David Escamilla more than earned his position as a vocalist in the band, as both his clean and harsh vocals fit the band’s sound like a glove, as evidenced on Wake Me Up. Where the vocal duo really shines, though, is when Leo and Escamilla trade off on screams on one of my favorite tracks by the band, Johnny Ringo. Both of their screams sound completely different, and yet they come together to create something far bigger than the sum of its parts.
All in all, I’d say that the album as a whole, including The Fallout (which is still totally awesome) is a great effort by the band, and I can’t wait to hear what they do next!