AngryChairs, Crippled Black Phoenix is a supergroup, containing members from famous post-metal groups such as Iron Monkey, Gonga, Mogwai, Electric Wizard, Godspeed You Black Emperor! and others. While the post-metal tag is fairly accurate, it does not fully explain the complexity of the sounds of Crippled Black Phoenix. There are many progressive elements, psychedelic, industrial, stoner to an extent, it's almost impossible to collect it all under one heading, which is why post-metal they will remain.
The group has had numerous members - 27 is wikipedia is to be believed, there is not a lot of information about this band out there (Their official website is in shambles, allmusic.com only has half of their discography - hence the sketchy linking) - and has several vocalists on any one record, both male and female. It gives the group's albums a really odd sound, with all the eclecticness of instruments and vocals. Some songs are slow, doomy songs with almost no vocals, while others are upbeat rock and roll songs. Some are filled with a male's clean vocals, some with a woman's gentle wail, and others have a harsher version of both styles within. Each song of off each album seems to be headed into a different direction. It sounds like it wouldn't work, and for some parts it doesn't, but for the most part it all works together great.
A Love Of Shared Disasters and Night Raider, are much more psychedelically oriented, with many of the songs not having any vocals (or much in the way of vocals), instead opting for a recording of somebody giving a speech or something, often times with an annoying melody (if you could call it that) behind it. It's too eclectic for me, to experimental. I like bands to reach out for new ground, but these releases go too far too quick.
Starting with The Resurrectionists, the group begins to focus it's thoughts somewhat. Although it goes against what I said above, on this album the songs tend to be semi-similar. They still vary greatly in individual style, but their overall sounds vaguely like an actual album (or at least a normal album). The usual craziness is still there however, with songs moving from a groovy guitar-laden style straight into a single piano of a different tempo and style. Then the next song sounds a bit like a French/European/folk song with accordion and a simple melody. Really weird.
This style of collected eclecticness is continued on their following release, but with a little bit more of an organized style. Their newest, I, Vigilante, falls more into the progressive doom category, still all over the map, but at least they've chosen a genre to spend most of their time in. With The Resurrectionists, it is my favorite from the band.
This is kind of a crap review/introduction to Crippled Black Phoenix, but really listen to the one of the group's album - any album - all the way through and you will agree with me. They are something else, something unclassifiable. Before this group, I would always laugh when bands would say they didn't belong to a genre, thinking that all bands belong to a genre, they just think they are special, but not this one. Crippled Black Phoenix truly gets thrown under the post-metal moniker because there is nothing better out there to describe them. Avant-garde or experimental maybe, but those are big umbrellas to fall under.
So if you think you'd like something totally unlike anything you have heard Crippled Black Phoenix might be just for you, but a warning: this is not for the casual observer. For every fan this group gets I'm sure it turns 10 (100, 1000) away with it's totally out-there style(s). Crazy is the only word. I really want to be on shrooms and listen to the entire discography, but I'd be too afraid of a bad trip from the morbid sounds.