Crowned King - Break The Silence (Cover Artwork)

Crowned King

Break The Silence (2003)


The first thing you'll notice about this album is the departure from anything ska. Crowned King have turned 180 degrees from their signature ska style fans grew to love on Tempting Fate, their 2000 independent release. Oh, they still have horns, but they've put them to, arguably, better use. This new and improved Crowned King are what rock has been missing. However, this album also shows their departure from the style that is decidedly indie. This is a major label release, and even though these boys are huge supporters of their Vancouver scene, the major label-ness of this album is very evident. Don't get me wrong, even though they sing the ballads and the straight up pop rock songs that sell the records, at least they do it with passion. I have the pleasure to say that I've met these guys a few times and hung out with them at their merch booths at shows in my area, and they really do care about the music. It took them a long time to ink this record deal, and almost even longer to record this album. Let's get to the music.

Playing God is a really good rock tune that shows you a lot of what to expect in the album (usually this is the goal from the first song of an album). The horns are loud, and they personify themselves well. All That She Wanted has a driving bass beat, with a catchy chorus. Turn It Up We're Going Down tries to be anthemic in parts and is possibly the most similar song to anything from the previous album. However it would almost sound better without the horns in the chorus, but are a welcome addition in the bridge when Ryan (guitar) turns it up a notch. The ending is somewhat over produced. One In A Million is Crowned King's ballad and is obviously very sentimental. The horns definitely add a softer side to the song. The first single off this album, Don't Wanna Go, is a solid rock tune. The drums drive ahead and the horns are background instruments for most of the song. This will get your rump shaking, make no mistake. A Song About Death has heavy guitars, and an overproduced sound. The second single is Impatience, and rightly so, since it deals with a relationship; something to which the teens that will end up buying this record will all be able to relate. The horns are simple, and add that extra kick that no one else out there is trying. True Love is too much of a try hard to be radio friendly. The vocal harmonies are predictable and this album could have done without this song.

The saving grace to the last song is the powerful intro to Yours Truly, and parts of the song have a distinct Less Than Jake feel to it. Sure parts are overproduced like most of the album, but the average listener won't even notice. Another filler on this album is Unload. Although it has a catchy chorus, the ending is cheezy and the lyrics are uninspired. And speaking of cheezy, Tired Eyes follows and in a vain attempt, Shaun strains his voice near the end where he would have been better off letting the instruments do their job. Now, where Turn It Up We're Going Down failed at being anthemic, Reason To Believe succeeds...or at least somewhat. A type of song that's been done over and over again, but there is a need for this type of song. I think it was done well. And the piano outro is actually very welcome.

One thing a lot of listeners might notice is how much Shaun's voice has matured. He's no longer just the younger brother with the voice. He's the main act. He seems to have grasped the ability to go from raspy to soft, to harsh etc. This gives this album a more diverse quality. You may also find that the songs themselves are quite diverse, and not many (apart from the fillers) sound akin to any of the others. Crowned King have attempted to do something no one has done, but come off sounding like they are middle of the pack in a genre where they are the front runners. Given time and more experience with this new found sound, they might just pull it off one day and surprise the hell out of everyone.