by Mike Avakian
From the great northern country of Canada, the progressive rock band Crown Lands is here to share not only their new album, “Fearless”, but to communicate the history of Indigenous land being stolen from the First Nations during the process of colonization. Historically, the phrase Crown land was used as a justification for colonial violence against the Indigenous peoples. Through their music, Crown Lands wants to raise awareness of the long-term effects of this colonization and give a voice to their community of indigenous peoples.
The duo of Kevin Comeau (bass, guitars, keys/synths) and Cody Bowles (drummer and singer), joined forces with one of rock’s greatest producers, David Bottrill, to record this album. David Bottrill’s discography is quite extensive – bands like Tool, Muse, Rush… just to name a few. Through the combination of Crown Lands’ writing and passion and David Bottrill’s immense production, we are presented with a monster progressive rock record.
The album kicks off with “Starlifter: Fearless Pt. II,” an 18 minute space opera that tells the tale as old as time – the battle between good and evil. As the mystical synth sequence begins the song, it quickly jumps right into an explosion of colossal hits; a love letter to Rush’s 2112. The driving force of this song is a rhythmic groove that creates a giant wall of sonic landscapes. As the vocals start, you are now fully enveloped into this science fiction story of a fantastical indigenous futurism concept. It follows the story of the main character, Fearless, who sees his planet being colonized and destroyed by the interstellar syndicate by harnessing the power of the sun to destroy his planet for profit and greed. As Fearless rises up, the music follows along with him with powerful and lush chords and vocals that soar through multiple octaves. The halfway mark of the song is an arpeggiated synth riff in the 11/8 time signature, that has the likes of Brad Fiedel’s score to 1984’s sci-fi/horror classic, The Terminator. The song closes out with robust drum fills by Cody Bowles, along with unison hits, into a grand finale of a beautiful chord that rings through to the end.
Following the 18 minute album opening masterpiece is, “Dreamer of the Dawn”, a 4 minute rock song that has the blood of Rush darting through its veins. With upbeat music and a singalong chorus, this song really shows you that Cody and Kevin know how to write and deliver to us a straight up rock song with little hints of prog thrown around in there. At the 2:30 mark, Kevin comes in with a screaming guitar solo, with beautiful harmonized parts that make you think of Brian May’s extremely catchy and cohesive melody lines that are undoubtedly singable. There is no point in this song that you will stop tapping your foot, nodding your head, or singing along to Bowles’ extremely catchy melodies.
There are a number of standout rockers including “Right Way Back” and the Rush-inspired “Context:Fearless Pt.1”. However, the surprising seventh track on the record is a beautiful instrumental called “Penny”; an all acoustic, one person song. Kevin fingerpicks his way through a stunning chord progression that keeps your mind at ease the entire time. While playing guitar alone and upfront, Kevin is willing to trust us enough to bring us through his journey of enchanting vulnerability. Though this song may not have multiple time signatures, crazy guitar solos, or massive drum fills, it stands out as a superlative palate cleanser.
The final song on the album is the piano driven power ballad, “Citadel”. Cody really shows those powerful vocal chops that sound as if Geddy Lee, Robert Plant, and Paul Stanley have been combined into one enormous vocal giant. The passion in this song is truly palpable and stands on its own from the rest of the album. This is a perfect ending to an epic, powerful, and informative journey through fantasy, science fiction, and history.
This dynamic duo has really shown us that they don’t need to be “accessible” or “radio friendly”; rather they strive to create enlightening and entertaining music that reaches audience not only through their music, but also their mission. As a sophomore follow up to their self-titled debut album, it truly shows that the evolution of the band is undeniable and limitless.
Released on March 31st, 2023
‘Fearless’ Track List:
1. Starlifter: Fearless Pt. II
2. Dreamer Of The Dawn
3. The Shadow
4. Right Way Back
5. Context: Fearless Pt. I
8. Lady Of The Lake
Buy the album here. https://shop.crownlandsmusic.com/collections/merch