Last month, Alternative Press – one of America’s biggest rock music magazines put Crown The Empire on their cover for the second time in little over a year. This is a band that there has been a lot of buzz around stateside for a while now, yet there has been barely any coverage of them in the UK rock media. We put Gavin Lloyd on the case to investigate whether or not this Texas six-piece are on track to becoming a global phenomenon.
Top 6…Reasons why Crown The Empire are going to be massive:
1) Their Music
Over the past few years Rise Records, the home of Crown The Empire, has risen to become one of the major powerhouse labels for chart-bothering metal acts. Many of those bands are Warped Tour-ready m0shcore merchants and to an extent so are Crown The Empire, but they also possess plenty that marks them out from that crowd. Their debut album The Fallout is full of huge earworm choruses, much like when Linkin Park turned up at the peak of nu-metal fever and blew up due to their pop sensibility. It’s as true now as it was then; nothing is more of a sure-fire winner for mainstream crossover than big hooks, and Crown The Empire have them in abundance. Furthermore they have a touch of the grandiose and the theatrical to their music. The album is full of interesting flourishes, suhc as how closing track ‘Johnny’s Revenge’ starts with what sounds like circus music and evil giggling. These big ideas are only going to get bigger and catch more and more people’s attention.
2) The Live Experience
Although they haven’t actually been an active band that long, they are already a slick as fuck, globe straddling rock band live. Back when they made their way over to the UK last September alongside Issues, there were many questioning why they were playing above the buzzier Issues on the bill. In the case of the Islington Academy gig, while Issues undoubtedly drew a bigger crowd, it was a crowd of curious bystanders. When Crown The Empire took to the stage, they put on the sort of performance that was already set for venues twice this size. True, the crowd watching them had undoubtedly thinned out as those feeding on the Issues-hype filtered out of the building, but those who did stick around were a lot more active, forming huge mosh pits and mass pogoing. Crown The Empire were already marking themselves out as one of those big American rock bands who are consistent in their professionalism and putting on a damn near perfect show. There is clearly desire within the band to take to bigger stages, and given their theatrical leanings, it’s easy to see them going onto put on big production arena rock shows.
3) Their Big Ideas
Debut album The Fallout is a concept album based around two lovers who have found themselves within the apocalypse. This is a subtle, yet genius twist for CTE to give to both their music and band identity. Following Twilight and even more notably The Hunger Games, there is a big market with teens for this sort of thing. The ideas behind the album could easily sit alongside the many dystopian romance young adult fiction that fill the shelves of Waterstones. They embody this idea and spread it throughout all areas of the band, from their album artwork to their dramatic music videos. While it might not be immediately obvious from listening to the album alone, when those fans dig around to learn more about this exciting new band they stumble upon a narrative that is going to massively appeal to many within that crucial Tumblr-demographic.
4) Their Aesthetic
As could perhaps be expected from a band keen on big concepts, and clearly having a ‘thing’ this extends to their look. Fitting in with their dystopian story telling the band are regularly kitted out in tattered and torn suit and tie. The recent AP cover suggests a change in attire, but the band are still have a “uniform” as such. They’re not going to simply be wearing jeans and t-shirts any time soon. That clear and unique identity can just as easily inspire fandom, and provides a way for their fans to be a part of the band on an aesthetic level too. Like it or not, in a sea of normal-looking dudes making music, bands need strong identities more than ever, and while not always the case, history shows us that bands with strong identities often get noticed and embraced by wider audiences.
This is the cover we’re talking about. Look at it. See what we mean? EXACTLY.
5) Eye Candy
It can’t be ignored that Crown The Empire are a bunch of good looking dudes. I’m sure this fact will instantly turn off a lot of people out there who are about to take to the comment section and start hammering the overused F, A and G keys on their keyboards. I know bands’ success/popularity should be all about the music and all that, but having attractive people in your band helps sell records, tickets, merch, and most importantly, they help sell your band. That’s a fact regardless of genre. Grumble all you want about it, but let’s face facts: it hasn’t hurt the likes of Oli Sykes, Kellin Quinn and Vic Fuentes in terms of commercial success.
What a well turned-out group of young men Crown The Empire are.
6) They’re the ones to fill the My Chemical Romance gap
My Chemical Romance were a big deal, never has that been more obvious than since they announced their split. Despite being over, there has been loads of My Chemical Romance magazine covers ever since. They were clearly a band that meant a lot more than simply having some popular songs, and really meant something special to their fans. There’s still not anyone who has taken the step up and filled their incredibly massive shoes. Jared Leto may try to repeatedly shove the idea that his band is a ‘cult’ down our throats, but if you are in said band you’re not really in the position to claim it’s a cult; the fans form that ideaology themselves.
With MCR no longer with us there’s a huge gap in the market for a band that inspires that cult-like following where people almost feel like they are a part of a movement. There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between the two bands – mainstream-bothering rock music, a strong live presence, concept albums, and a unique aesthetic all apply to both bands. Much like MCR before them, Crown The Empire have the potential to be more than just liked, but loved and needed by teenage rock fans the world over.
Crown The Empire’s debut album, The Fallout, is out now on Rise Records. Their second, The Resistance: Rise of The Runaways, is out on Rise Records on 21 July 2014. Gavin Lloyd recently bought a Falling In Reverse t-shirt that by his own admission, make him “look like he’s come to the pub wearing his pyjamas”. Be sure to tell him that