CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX unveils the very first track, taken from the upcoming album “Banefyre”. The new full-length is set for worldwide release on September 09, 2022, via Season of Mist.
The song ‘Blackout 77’, which is accompanied by a music video, is now streaming via the official Season of Mist YouTube channel:
Mastermind Justin Greaves comments on the track: “A story of when, just for a night, the underclass, the downtrodden, the subjugated and outcast, all exploded in a rage when the power in New York City went down. The tension of years of oppression and abuse was released. For one night the freaks made themselves known and fired arrows into the sky. ‘Blackout 77’ is one part of our Banefyre, The Musical journey. Fitting with the other tales and laments giving light to life’s outcasts, the freaks, the different.
Who’s laughing now?“
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX previously announced new European tour dates in support of the new album, together with label mates IMPURE WILHELMINA and MØL. A full list of confirmed shows can be found below:
25.08.22 Germany Hannover @ Faust
26.08.22 Germany Hamburg @ Bahnhof Pauli
27.08.22 Denmark Copenhagen @ Hotel Cecil
28.08.22 Germany Berlin @ SO36
29.08.22 Germany Leipzig @ Täubchenthal
30.08.22 Germany Munich @ Backstage
31.08.22 Hungary Budapest @ A38
01.09.22 Austria Vienna @ Chelsea
02.09.22 Italy Bologna @ Link
03.09.22 Switzerland Winterthur @ Gaswerk
04.09.22 France Paris @ Backstage
05.09.22 Germany Cologne @ Essigfabrik
06.09.22 Netherlands Zoetermeer @ Boerderij
07.09.22 UK London @ The Dome
08.09.22 UK Bristol @ The Fleece
09.09.22 UK Manchester @ Rebellion
10.09.22 UK Glasgow @ Classic Grand
The album can be pre-saved on your favorite platform HERE.
Artwork: Original paintings created for this album by Lucy Marshall
Layout master: Benedikt Demmer
The thread that binds CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX’s bold and towering discography — a dozen studio albums, a half-dozen mini-albums, a handful of compilations and swaths of bootlegs — could not be more apropos circa 2022.
Since its 2004 creation by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Justin Greaves, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX has served as the voice for the voiceless, whether it be animals, the unequal, and the different. Greaves and longstanding vocalist and lyricist Belinda Kordic have often proffered that these beings cannot fend for themselves.
Henceforth, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX’s mission has been to shed light on the human condition and the inequalities that befall humankind and its creatures. Their battle marches on with their latest studio album, “Banefyre”.
“Banefyre” follows 2020’s “Ellengæst” — an effort that found CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX employ a series of notable guest vocalists alongside Kordic, prompting Metal Hammer to describe it as their “most cohesive and emotionally devastating record.”
Kordic is now paired with Swedish vocalist Joel Segerstedt, who made his CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX debut last year via the ‘Painful Reminder/Dead is Dead’ single. Piano, synth and trumpet player Helen Stanley and additional guitarist Andy Taylor complete the lineup. Greaves says Stanley and Taylor “fit so well creatively,” which has made CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX feel like a band when making plans and decisions.
Also central to this is Segerstedt. According to Kordic, the vocalist and lyricist lives a mere five minutes from her in Sweden and has quickly integrated himself into the band. “What I like about Joel is that he’s a good person,” she says.
“There’s no fakeness with him; he has cajones. He’s not a bitch-talker, either. I can’t handle people who don’t have a backbone, but Joel is real and can speak his mind.”
“I like how Joel has come in and spoke for himself,” adds Greaves. “He’s in the band for the right reasons. I see him the same way as Belinda — she took an interest in the whole artistic thing behind CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX, like the vocals, lyrics, artwork and aesthetic. It’s the same with Joel. He has taken an interest in all of those things. In the past, we had people who didn’t contribute artistically and only cared about what they got out of the band. But Joel is really proactive and takes the initiative.”
Greaves assembled 13 songs (including ‘No Regrets,’ a bonus track for his new project with Kordic, Johnny the Boy) imbued with the depth and introspection that will reinforce CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX’s standing as a band that defies genre.
The album was tracked at Chapel Studios in South Thoresby, Lincolnshire, with vocals cut at Monolith Studio and Kapsylen Studio in Stockholm, Sweden. Kurt Ballou handled mixing in GodCity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts — a pivotal move in determining the album’s overall sound.
“I love the album so much because it was a different approach with the production,” says Greaves. “For my part, it was a little bit of a reaction. I didn’t want to do the same warm, safe CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX album. I’m aware that when we did [2012’s] “I, Vigilante,” everyone wanted “I, Vigilante again.” As it so often happens with this band, people complain about the next one, then grow into it. “Ellengæst” is like “I, Vigilante.” It’s a shorter album. It hit the mark and was done really well, but everyone will expect another “Ellengæst.” I feared that, but I care enough not to make another “Ellengæst.” It’s the right thing to do. That’s why we got Kurt to mix it — we wanted that analog, raw power. Even though the album has mellow moments, those are edgy as well. We just didn’t want to do the same album twice. We’re never going to be a band that people can rely on.”
Greaves’ summation of his band notwithstanding, his distinctive guitar playing and enduring knack for immersive songwriting is the propellent behind the haunting, chant-laden ‘Ghostland,’ pensive ‘The Reckoning’ and forlorn ‘Everything is Beautiful but Us,’ the band’s spot-on analysis of the retreat of humankind indoors during the pandemic that revealed nature’s priceless beauty.
The album is also stocked with no less than four ten-minute-plus cuts (‘Rose of Jericho,’ ‘Down the Rabbit Hole,’ ‘I’m Okay, Just Not Alright’ and ‘The Scene is a False Prophet’) that are intermixed with drama and melancholy.
It all ties into “Banefyre”’s central theme of the persecution of people who are deemed “different” by society. The album title is a play on the song “Bonefire” that Kordic named and wrote lyrics for. In classic CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX fashion, Greaves turned it into the Olde English translation to represent the bonfires that engulfed witches and politicians through the 15th and 18th centuries, hence, the name Banefyre.
The album begins with ‘Incantation for the Different,’ which was written and orated by Chicago-based witch, artist, author and occultist Shane Bugbee, who, according to Greaves, “brought us some positive, dark energy.”
“Banefyre” then delves into the Salem Witch Trials (‘Wyches and Basterdz’), fox hunting in Great Britain (‘The Reckoning’), politicians of an unscrupulous and dishonest kind (‘Bonefire’) and the New York City Blackout of 1977 (‘Blackout77’).
Greaves says “Banefyre”’s topics may have a decidedly negative and pessimistic tone, but a glimmer of hope and joy remains. “There’s always the random bits, but overall, Banefyre is about the people who have suffered because they are different. The album covers inequality and oppression, like ‘Incantation for the Different,’ which is about overcoming when you’re put down because you’re not like everyone else.”
In true CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX fashion, the Lucy Marshall-created “Banefyre” cover leaves plenty to the imagination, depicting four animals seated at a table — interacting and dressed like human beings.
“It’s sort of like Planet of the Apes showing what animals could do to humans,” says Greaves. “The cover was specially commissioned and is unique to the album. It’s incorporating all the classic CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX elements with the love for animals and twisting the narrative around.”
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX’s reputation was built on the back of their studio albums and live shows. The pandemic prevented the band from supporting “Ellengæst,” but it did provide them additional time to bring in new members to their live configuration.
“We’ve done one show since 2019,” says Greaves. “We are going to do something in Europe this year. Hopefully, we can get back on track. We’re also going to do something in the States — that’s not just talk, we’re actually going to do it. It’s well overdue. The live band is fucking amazing. We have the five of us and now we have Jordi [Farré] on drums, Paco [Fleischfresser] on synth and a really good friend of mine, Matt Crawford on bass.
We did the Leipzig show and even though the rehearsals were better than the show itself, that lineup, our live band, is so good. Because we haven’t been under pressure to put a live band together since 2019 and spent so long talking to people, we’ve got a better band from those results. Out of disaster, we’ve got quite a good, positive thing.”
Band photos: (c) Konrad Röhringer
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