Crown The Empire’s New Album DOGMA Takes The Crown For Metalcore Sound
Crown The Empire is always breaking boundaries and bending genres, and that’s no different for its newest album DOGMA.
Released on April 28 via Rise Records, DOGMA is the modern post-metalcore band’s fifth studio album. As the band explores styles ranging from hard rock to scream to breakdown-driven metal and more, it’s hard to put the band into a box.
Crown The Empire is composed of quartet Andy Leo Rockhold, Brandon Hoover, Hayden Tree, and Jeeves Avalos, and it’s produced and mixed by Zach Jones.
The album explores diverse sounds, encompassing themes of angst, existential identity, isolation, and determination. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on band members, fueling deep cogitation and soul-searching in ways that appear throughout DOGMA.
More theatrical or colorful lyrics could sometimes make things convoluted. The pandemic caused a lot of introspection and a shift in priorities as individuals and as a group. The lyrics are less wordy and lofty. It’s more honest and direct.
~ Andy Leo Rockhold
But Crown The Empire fans can still look forward to what makes this band special: its unique style and tone that has had listeners hooked since their first release in 2010.
We brought back the classic elements of Crown without taking anything away from what we’ve done more recently. The high-energy, fast-paced, hard-hitting riffs, with the band’s more melodic side, mashed together into an updated sound.
~ Hayden Tree
The album opens up with its namesake, “DOGMA,” complete with an action-packed, gory music video. Filled with religious imagery and lyricism, the song’s immediate heavy guitar paired with singing, screaming, industrial sound, and distortion are what makes fans love Crown The Empire.
Lay your faith to waste
I’ll watch you suffocate
I’ll take your pain, embrace
Now watch me levitate
“Black Sheep” is similarly intense, leaning more into the screamo genre with lyrics about living as an outcast and feeling condemned by society, unable to fit the mold.
And on “Modified,” Crown The Empire similarly shines in the chorus, reflecting the band’s signature sound while hinting at a potential new direction. The song talks about struggling with one’s flaws and feelings of inadequacy.
If I could be modified
To fix what was meant to be broken
If I can’t do what is right
Then who will be left when it’s over?
“Paranoid” has a unique sound compared to the prior tracks, bringing an industrial pop sound. It might be unexpected from a metalcore band, but it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Listeners might relate as the band sings on feeling isolated and fearing who might hurt them.
“In Another Life” (feat. Courtney LaPlante) is a return to the band’s regular heavy style. LaPlante, from Spiritbox, is a nice pair with Crown. Her vocals soften up the song at times, making the subsequent breakdowns and distortions even better. This was the first song the band wrote for the new album, the members said, and it explores the haunting emotions that come with paranormal experiences and grappling with ghosts — both ghost sightings and feeling like a ghost of oneself.
All I have known are memories
Can feel the hole in my heart
Still chasing ghosts in the dark
~ “In Another Life” (feat. Courtney LaPlante)
With another feature, “Superstar” (feat. Remington Leith), is a catchy song with a more industrial pop influence. It talks about the darker side of being a celebrity, from fake friends to substance abuse to death. This heartbreakingly honest song questions if it’s even worth it.
Perhaps DOGMA’s heaviest song here is “Dancing with the Dead,” which includes no “clean” vocals. This song originated during Leo’s lowest point during the COVID-19 quarantine, in which he struggled immensely, reflected in Leo and Tree’s anguished screams: “So close to god that you can almost taste it, I’m done dancing with the dead.” The sheer level of pain infused in the song creates an almost palpable surge of emotion.
“Immortalize” keeps up the album’s quality with its brilliant composition – especially in the chorus. With a message about grappling with the constant passage of time, paired with uncertainty surrounding the future, songs like “Immortalize” touch on central human experiences that all listeners can find meaning in.
I feel the world spin underneath
Slow down the clock, I need to breathe
You’re here then gone, what’s to believe?
So now we’re holding on to what is left
What have we done?
On “Someone Else,” the band continues to show just how strong its vocals are, singing about feeling hopeless and not knowing who you are anymore. The raw pain reflected in the lyricism reaches out to fans, who maybe won’t feel so alone after listening.
The album’s final track, “Labyrinth,” is a solid end to a solid album. The high-energy song only elevates DOGMA, satisfying the urge to hear everything the band has to offer.
Crown The Empire is a really cool band, with talent in both vocals and screaming, lyricism and sound. New listeners can join the family that is the fanbase for Crown The Empire, a band that’s been together since the members’ teenage years.
We’ve never really explained it to our fans, but the symbol we designed represents unity amongst everyone. The cog represents the wheels that keep turning in the world. The idea is that anyone, from any walk of life, can do anything they set their mind to do … The crown means that anyone can conquer, and everyone is welcome. We’re a family.
~ Hayden Tree
You can connect with the band on Twitter and stream these new songs on all major platforms.