Progressive rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX will be releasing a new EP, ‘Painful Reminder / Dead is Dead’ on July 16 via Season of Mist! The cover art and track list can be found below. In celebration of the EP, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX has now shared the first single, which is a cover of SNFU’s “Painful Reminder,” along with a music video accompaniment, which is available at THIS LOCATION.
In further news, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX is welcoming vocalist/lyricist Joel Segerstedt to the lineup. The band comments:
“The first thing we’re doing after ‘Ellengæst’ is a special single. A cover version of the classic SNFU song ‘Painful Reminder.’ And it features new vocalist/lyricist Joel Segerstedt. He joins the band to be the male voice and the contrast to Belinda Kordic in the female/male dynamic which is now an integral part of the CBP sound. Being a Stockholm resident, it seems all the more serendipitous that we find each other. And after hearing his vocal talent in his other band The Open Up And Bleeds, we knew Joel could be the missing piece of the jigsaw.
“This release is a way of introducing Joel to our crowd while at the same time, paying tribute to the SNFU vocalist Mr Chi Pig. The song was already on the shortlist of cover song ideas Justin (Greaves) keeps in his pocket, but now was the time to do it because of the sad passing of Chi Pig in 2020. It seemed the right thing to pay our respects to a talented and underrated singer/lyricist and unique character in the punk rock world.“
The EP is available now for pre-orders HERE.
1. Painful Reminder (6:18)
2. Dead is Dead (7:40)
“One thing we’ll never do is stick to the rules and stay within the box.”
Such are the words from Crippled Black Phoenix founder, songwriter and guitarist Justin Greaves, who has guided this progressive, thought-provoking, shape-shifting musical collective since their 2004 formation. Their new effort, Ellengæst, follows a recent pattern of the band in releasing a mini-album in between studio LPs. It is the direct result of their ceaseless creativity — when Greaves has songs, Crippled Black Phoenix records them. Ellengæst has the difficult task of following 2018’s profound and moving Great Escape. Ellengæst, though, does not make any attempts in pairing with or succeeding Great Escape. Circumstances largely prevented it anyway.
On the day tracking started for Ellengæst, Crippled Black Phoenix — completed by vocalist and lyricist Belinda Kordic, guitarist Andy Taylor and multi-instrumentalist Helen Stanley —suddenly, unexpectedly found themselves without a male lead vocalist and keyboardist. Whereas events of a similar thread would spell doom for most bands, Greaves took it as an opportunity to tap into his deep network of musician friends. Before he knew it, several prominent guest vocalists were secured, ready and able to lend their considerable talents to Ellengæst: Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh, Gaahls Wyrd’s Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal, Coliseum/Fotocrime/one-time Crippled Black Phoenix touring bassist Ryan Patterson, up-and-coming U.K. solo artist Suzie Stapleton and Tribulation’s Jonathan Hultén.
“It all came together really easy, to be honest,” says Greaves. “Because we’re working with people that you’ve got a connection where you see things the same way or you wouldn’t get along as friends. When it comes from an artistic standpoint, we’re already on the same page. It all just weirdly worked out. It’s not like I had to go out and think, ‘Okay, who do I know that could sing on this song that sounds like this?’ It was just like, ‘I’ve got a bunch of songs that we’ve always talked about doing something with. Which song would this singer suit?’”
Ellengæst, which in Olde English – with some scandinavian connection – translates as “strong spirit” and another reference as “mischievous demon”,represents Crippled Black Phoenix’s duality. “It comes from the same place, but with different connotations,” says Greaves. “That’s this band in a nutshell. We’ve had to stay strong because of all the BS we’ve encountered, yet we’re still going and subversive. It’s like we’re giving kids candy with razor blades in them.”
Tackling themes of the human condition and the perpetual internal struggles people face, Ellengæst begins with Cavanagh pairing with Kordic on “House of Fools” and “Lost,” the two switching lead vocal responsibilities for each song. Gaahl’s appearance on “In the Night” was born from his long-standing relationship with Greaves, the two men grew close after countless late tour nights in hotel rooms chatting the evening away. Gaahl, whose vocal exploits are often limited to black metal circles, was given “In the Night” because Greaves thought he could do something unique with the track.
“He doesn’t do these sorts of things; he doesn’t collaborate very often, if at all,” he says. “Kristian confessed to me that this is the first time he’s done something like this. When he sent me the files, he then called me up and asked if it was okay. He explained, ‘I did it in a spoken word because the song is stoic and melancholy.’ He hit the nail right on the head. Then you have Belinda doing her angelic vocals over it. You have the light and the dark represented.”
Patterson and Stapleton blend seamlessly on the momentous “Cry of Love,” while Kordic casts yet another heart-rendering vocal spell across “Everything I Say.” Yet another surprise comes in the form of Hultén’s trance-inducing, but soaring performance on “The Invisible Past.” A cover of Bauhaus’s “She’s in Parties” sung by Kordic rounds out the set.
Crippled Black Phoenix are no strangers to adversity, making the events surrounding the creation of Ellengæst yet another roadblock for a band whose very existence has been threatened on more than a few occasions. Their unique setup and stubborn refusal to bow to musical norms may confuse the casual music consumer. However, the core of Crippled Black Phoenix — Greaves, Kordic, Taylor and Stanley — thrives on the unconventional, remaining steadfastly singular and undefinable. Accordingly, Greaves believes this incarnation of Crippled Black Phoenix is the strongest to date. All it took was another dramatic sea-change to prove it.
“This was the best thing that could have happened to us,” he says. “Before, there was this horrible cloud of drama following us. There was always something going on. Once that had gone and the people who were on the outside of the band who were a part of that, once they had gone and the drama had gone, me and Helen found ourselves tracking in the studio in the first session. We just got on with it; we didn’t think twice. In the second session, we just felt liberated. We just knew, ‘This is going to be great.’ We’re all so excited about the possibilities. It feels like we’re rejuvenated.”