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Crippled Black Phoenix

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Crippled Black Phoenix I, Vigilante album cover
3.59 | 134 ratings | 10 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Troublemaker (8:33)
2. We Forgotten Who We Are (10:47)
3. Fantastic Justice (7:54)
4. Bastogne Blues (12:01)
5. Of a Lifetime (6:45)
6. Burning Bridges (2:30)

Total Time 48:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Joe Volk / vocals (1-4)
- Justin Greaves / guitar, drums & percussion (1-3), Fx (4), composer & co-producer
- Karl Demata / guitar, percussion (3), mandolin (4)
- Danny Ashberry / Hammond (1-5), synth (2)
- Daisy Chapman / synth (1), piano (2-5), vocals (5), string arrangements
- Charlotte Nicholls / cello
- Christian Heilmann / bass
- Merijn Royaards / drums (2-5)

- Mark Ophidian / electronics (1,4), sampler (1,4)
- Liz Purnell / trombone (3,4)
- Emma Hooper / viola (4)
- Sue Lord / violin (4)

Releases information

LP Invada ‎- INV095LP (2010, UK)
2LP Kscope ‎- KSCOPE897 (2015, UK)

CD Invada ‎- INV095LP (2010, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to rushfan4 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX I, Vigilante ratings distribution

(134 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Third CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX release is recorded with a bit different musicians team, than previous one. Most important - Dominic Atchinson,former Mogwai bassist,isn't on board anymore.

Music itself is slightly different now as well, but in general still is same psychedelic post-rock with light indie smell in moments. Compositions are down/mid tempo, melancholic, usually keyboards based, but always with characteristic post-rock guitars over it. Even if music in whole sounds melodic, there are no bright tunes or memorable songs on this album.

Quite pleasant listening, but you will forget it at the same moment when last songs sounds will disappear. Your average psychedelic post-rock band's album, with all pros and cons.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'I, Vigilante' - Crippled Black Phoenix (6/10)

At first impression coming off as a Pink Floyd tribute circa 'Wish You Were Here,' it wasn't long before Crippled Black Phoenix's third studio album 'I, Vigilante' showed a much wider range than what I expected at the start of my first listen. In a year blessed by a handful of astounding surprises, this melancholic rock group has created an album that begs for repeated listening, but despite some moments of real beauty and force here, there's the unsettling feeling throughout that despite all efforts, the album's great sense of promise is never completely realized.

While the opening guitar solo of 'Troublemaker' could have easily been pitched out of David Gilmour's songbook, Crippled Black Phoenix soon develops their sound to incorporate a great deal many more influences and sounds, although the sharpest resemblance to another band's style would be akin to Sigur Ros, with a melancholic, brooding and minimalistic post-rock approach being used for the most part of 'I, Vigilante'. On top of the Floydian themes being overtly used in the opener, 'Troublemaker' quickly works it's way into being a bluesy stoner rock number that surely echoes the band's association with Electric Wizard. While the song's slower groove feels like it drags on for too long, it is a promising entrance into 'I, Vigilante,' and it's straightforward, rocking nature is then starkly contrasted with the more subtle, delicate tendencies of 'We Forgotten Who We Are', a piece that when coupled with the third part 'Fantastic Justice' (which it segues seamlessly into), makes a nearly twenty minute long post-rock epic. These two songs share musical ideas and a similar, mostly instrumental approach that arguably works out to be the album's cornerstone experience. A minimalistic, gradually building and very introspective style works wonders after twenty minutes, and by the time it's over, some of the musical ideas- particularly those involving piano- may feel as if they were drawn out a bit beyond their welcome, but the effect of it is still beautiful and as good as any other post-rock released the same year. 'Bastogne Blues' is next, feeling like an old western film soundtrack bathed in the post-rock treatment, and gently driven by the quiet vocals of Joe Volk. The cello work works perfectly over the gated electric guitar, providing a perfect spiritual closer to the main body of the album.

Of course, there have been two tracks yet on 'I, Vigilante' that are yet unaccounted for. This is where the album begins to lose a great deal of it's magic, in no small part due to the fact that for the album's closer and reprisal (bonus track), Crippled Black Phoenix opts for a pair of covers. The first is a Journey cover of 'Of A Lifetime', which while it is performed quite well, it feels shallow compared to the lush work in the previous four tracks. An all-too repetitive central riff and some iffy female singing makes it a pretty poor note to leave the album on.

While 'I, Vigilante' shows a world of promise in some of it's stronger sections, the album's weaknesses rob it of being a completely satisfying release. However, had the two final tracks been replaced with even just a single extra original track, 'I, Vigilante' would certainly be an album to stand out above it's peers.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars This album is a pretty good listen from start to finish. Fans of this style of music will definitely find a lot to appeal to them; this is a guitar-heavy rock album with a lot of feel and space in it. (And by space, I mean in terms of compositions - the shortest is just under 8 minutes). As a result, each track has plenty of time to develop it's various themes and emotions, and does so well. The band also adds some extra depth to the music by letting the guitars rest every now and then and letting the piano or keys take the lead. Spoken words at the intro of some songs, especially the last, "Bostogne Blues", give the music a nice edge.

But Stephen! You might be saying. The shortest song is 2:31, not just under eight minutes - and it is two tracks after Bostogne Blues! Are you sure you listened to the full album?

And I will respond that yes, I have listened to the whole album, but the last two tracks really feel out of place here. These are covers, pop songs, sung by a different vocalist than the rest of the album and have a completely different feel. The last track, Burning Bridges, isn't even mentioned on the cover and could be considered a bonus track, but I like to do the same with Of A Lifetime as well. They really feel out of place on this slower, more atmospheric rock album.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 8/10

'I, Vigilante' is a beautiful mix of Prog Rock and straight-forward Post-Rock.

'I, Vigilante' is Crippled Black Phoenix's third album already. According to the popular legend of music-wise artistic maturity, the third album is always the gem. This album in particular is a solid proof that most of the time, that statement is strangely true.

'I, Vigilante' is one of those albums that isn't quite for everybody: whoever cannot stand retro-melancholia should avoid this at all costs. Pink Floyd influences are everywhere in this guitar- driven Prog Rock LP, from the soothing guitars, to the soft vocals and the blue melodies. Flavors of Post-Rock can be easily sensed however, mainly because of a strong presence of cellos, piano, and various keyboard effects. Again, this is an album that is not one of the most cheerful ones out there: extremely melancholic in its nature, it does however push away any extreme negative feelings such as despair and grief. It is, simply, a beautiful record, composed of rich sonic textures, and at the same time being very straight-forward and dragging.

The genuine sense of melancholia and retro-feeling that invades the forty five minutes of length explore different worlds in each song: 'Bastogne Blues', possibly the most delicate and beautiful track of the album, faces themes of war traumas and nightmares: twelve minutes of slight climax, it has one of the most original sounding hooks of the entire album. 'We Forgotten Who We Are' has a more conventional feeling, but still remains a unique piece of work, for it's thought-provoking structure and lyrics concerning the death of traditions. 'Troublemaker', the opener of the album, is another highlight, once again being able to be original by using a quite conventional hook that reminds of the band's direct influence, Pink Floyd. But here there are also heavier, stoner-like guitars which give a different twist to the sad picture the song paints. 'Fantastic Justice' and the Journey cover that ends the album ,' Of A Lifetime', are two really good composition that, even though not adding new ideas to the album, still help in reinforcing it.

'I, Vigilante' is a beautiful mix of Prog Rock and straight-forward Post-Rock. An album that however isn't quite digested at first listen: certainly a grower, even for fans of the genre. But when the taste is acquired, it's hard not to catch it's strong emotional charge and not to glimpse the gloomy, yet haunting world it portrays.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Mashing up psychedelic space rock with a Floydian bent (filtered through Porcupine Tree's Millennial experiments in crossing over indie rock and space rock) on the one hand and post- rock on the other hand should in principle be an interesting and fruitful experiment; however, Crippled Black Phoenix, on I, Vigilante, accomplish the crossover by playing it safe a little too often - the space rock side of their sound doesn't go off on too many trippy-ass expeditions to the edge of infinity, the post-rock side churns away at a low burble and feels neutered compared to the likes of Godspeed or Silver Mt. Zion. There's nothing here to startle or surprise the listener, and consequently the end result is tame and unsurprising aside from an end-of- album left turn into twisted bubblegum pop, which is too little too late.
Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars Really disappointed with this one thinking I might have found a gem based on some reviews I've read. Post-Rock styled guitars at times and I suppose Psychedelic isn't too far off the mark but man this isn't good. For me it comes across as an amateur release for the most part. The male vocals in my opinion are weak at best, especially on "Fantastic Justice" that just sounds bad. The final two tracks suddenly have female vocals and I honestly felt the final song was a "joke" by the band. One of those humerous songs showing they don't take themselves too seriously. It is one of the worst songs I have heard in a long time. Just my opinion.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I usually pay a lot of attention to album packaging, and not only because it's a Prog trademark to link tightly sleeve design and musical/lyrical content? but also because it's a substantial part of the price we pay for CDs. So, in the case of "I, Vigilante", I have to admit that, when I order ... (read more)

Report this review (#1395753) | Posted by MELNIBONÉ | Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #4 >p> CBP was my new discovery some time ago, and I became very excited, up to the point that I realised that I was probably one of the last ones to discover them! hehehe I have listened carefully 3 of their albums, (200 tons, I Vigilante, The Crafty Ape), and I have to say that 'I Vig ... (read more)

Report this review (#805575) | Posted by The Jester | Friday, August 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The hardest part of any band's career is to simply stay original, to stay away from the generic and the overdone, and to stand out as an entity worthy of any listener. However, in a world where music encapsulates our society, to stray away from the typical is no easy feat. Crippled Black Phoen ... (read more)

Report this review (#454965) | Posted by _glasgow_ | Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the third album of CBP and their best effort so far. After two really good albums, it seems that the band have found their own identity, musically and lyrically. "I, Vigilante" is more like an EP (though it's more than 48 minutes long) before their forthcoming release. According to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#300560) | Posted by DeKay | Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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