Employing a punitive blend of blackened death metal, heady progressive metal, and blistering metalcore, Pennsylvania's Black Crown Initiate emerged in 2012 and found success with the arrival of their 2016 sophomore effort, Selves We Cannot Forgive.
The band continued to build momentum both at home and abroad with the release of 2020's Violent Portraits of Doomed Defeat, their first outing for Century Media.
The Reading-based unit was founded by James Dorton (vocals), Rik Stelzpflug (guitar, vocals), Andy Thomas (guitar, vocals), Nick Shaw (bass), and Jesse Beahler (drums). Drawing inspiration from bands like Decapitated, Shadows Fall, Cynic, and early Opeth, as well as the writings of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the band issued their debut EP, Song of the Crippled Bull, independently on digital sites in 2013 before inking a deal with eOne for their 2014 debut album, The Wreckage of Stars, which debuted at number 18 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. In February 2016, they returned to the studio with producer Carson Slovak to begin work on a sophomore long-player. The resulting Selves We Cannot Forgive dropped in June of that year, and became their biggest-selling album to date. Guitarist Rik Stelzpflug left the fold shortly after the record's release, and was replaced by ex-Faceless six-stringer Wes Hauch. Two years later drummer Jesse Beahler and Hauch departed on good terms, making way for new kit man Samuel Santiago and guitarist Ethan McKenna, the latter of whom had been founding members Thomas, Dorton, and Shaw's original choice to fill the role when the group was just getting started. In 2020 BCI signed with metal behemoth Century Media and released their punishing third full-length effort, Violent Portraits of Doomed Defeat. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi