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Crippled Black Phoenix: Rising From The Ashes

After a sordid, public battle over the group’s name, it looked like Crippled Black Phoenix had gone up in flames. But now founder Justin Greaves is back with a new CBP line-up.

"I came very close to jacking it all in,” says Justin Greaves, “but at the back of my mind I never wanted to give up. It was still burning inside me. I believe that the music comes first and the strength is in the music. Everything else is secondary.”

Some things are definitely worth fighting for. In Greaves’ case it’s Crippled Black Phoenix, the band he founded in 2004. Presiding over a nebulous mix of space metal, endgame rock and cinematic prog, Greaves has seen it develop into one of the most revered names on the underground scene, both here and in Europe. A handful of EPs and five studio albums – from debut A Love Of Shared Disasters through to 2014’s sprawling White Light Generator – stand as testament to CBP’s shuddering power.

That made it all the more alarming when the band broke into warring factions at the end of 2014. The whole thing escalated into a very ugly and very public crisis. The band’s official Twitter account posted a series of attacks on guitarist Karl Demata, calling him a “coward scumbag thief” and accusing him of trying to steal the group’s name. Demata countered with a lengthy and indignant reply via Facebook. Greaves was finally compelled to issue his own Facebook statement, saying: “I don’t know what the future will hold, but at this point I don’t need or want to be part of this, and I officially retire CBP. Anyone laying claim to it are doing it as thieves.”

A year on, Greaves admits: “I reacted pretty badly to it. But when you put 11 years of your life into something, it means so much. And then you get idiotic musicians coming along and saying: ‘I’m not getting what I want from this so I’m just going to take it from you.’ It really, really hurts. I found out that this certain ex-band member had registered the CBP trademark in their name and tried to sabotage the band, which is why I decided to go public. I just didn’t want him to do anything under that name.  

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