Artist: Blue Fire Horizon
Release date: 5/6/2022
Reviewed by: John Wesley
“On my knees / In awe of Your sovereignty / You are holy / No darkness shall affect Your presence”
With a reverent, brooding mid-tempo arrangement supporting a distorted yet clean and intelligible vocal delivery, the above stanza initiates the invitation for the presence of God to surround the listener in the brand new single release from Wisconsin based metalcore 4-piece Blue FIre Horizon. Released about 2 weeks ago, Crowns is an undisputed worship song blending styles of hard rock and deathcore laced with atmospheric decorations which create this beautifully heavy declaration of the all-encompassing glory of God Almighty. BFH consists of Zachariah Turnage on vocal duties, Hunter Chapin on guitars and vocals, Rock Arellano on drums and Maddie Cornils on bass and the group resides in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin which is the halfway point between Milwaukee and Green Bay. Zachariah and Hunter also host “The War is Everything” podcast where they invite fellow musicians of the greater underground Christian rock/metal scene to discuss music, theology and culture. I was honored to be part of the show and had a great time! Crowns was produced by Jared Esposito who also plays a big role in the emerging Christian rock/metal scene with his solo work as well as the band Whom I Serve.
Crowns fades in with a simple, memorable clean guitar hook that launches off into a heavier version of the same riff and a nice “EEAAHKKK” from Zachariah to signal we are going up dynamically. This however, doesn’t stick for long as the first verse quiets down to a thundering tom-driven drum beat with clean guitars, dirty bass and atmospheric pads. I already commented on Zachariah’s clean singing style and how it’s not so clean. His voice captures a perfect representation of a lowly heart bowing before the throne of God in worship. I quite enjoy his clean singing tone a lot and I hope BFH continues to utilize it for future releases. The first verse, as well as the second, sports a very accessible and powerful vocal melody which appropriately hovers just above the accompanying darkened soundscape.
With no time wasted, it’s not too long until the chorus hits. The melody range goes up a bit and the drums incorporate more double-kick spurts and the heavy guitar riff we heard in the beginning blast off. The sustaining pads don’t let up throughout, which ties the feel of the verse into the chorus seamlessly. The song follows a typical song structure until the 2:18 mark where almost out of nowhere we get some very upfront, devastating low guttural vocals singing “Let the blade come from His mouth / Separate them from their heads / Let the soils turn to red.” Oh boy. This just got real. Just like depicted in some of the Psalms, Crowns expresses the two-fold desire to offer pure worship and to anticipate the Lord’s justice on His enemies. Zachariah sure has his deathcore vocal techniques down. The bridge to this track gives the fans what they want: a half-time crushing breakdown with mountain leveling throat assaults leaving you no choice but to at least make the “stank face.” One unique aspect of this section is the clean guitar parts in the background. I can’t help but think Hunter suggested keeping the cleans in the background to ensure we’re still in the middle of a worship song (haha).
There is a quick break until another breakdown commences. The song fades out and we come to the end of this very well-done deathcore worship track. A very well-written offering to the Lord, Crowns must be considered in deciding what your next worship (or simply deathcore/metalcore) playlist will feature. If I have any gripe with any aspect of this song it would have to be in the production aspect. I think the harsh vocals are a little too upfront in the mix and the heavy guitars could use some more presence and bite. Other than that, I really do love this song. BFH keeps getting better with each release and they are showing themselves to be a key player in the scene. Check them out, their podcast and continue to support the rising generation of new Christian metalcore/deathcore bands.
Overall rating: 8/10
For fans of Phinehas, Impending Doom, Wage War