The inaugural album from the Los Angeles doom band Stygian Crown blends classical voice with tradition-respecting modern doom metal.
The sound of Stygian Crown is different enough that they have developed a new category for it: Candlethrower. Uh-huh. The band has the classic metal full line up of five principals: Melissa Pinion (vocals), Nelson Miranda (guitar), Jason Thomas (bass), Andy Hicks (guitar), and Rhett A. Davis (drums). Those names might ring a bell – Davis, Miranda, and Thomas were in Gavehill, and that in itself is a strong recommendation. This band, however, is not death metal but instead is a doom hybrid affair. A new direction, you might say.
After a spooky 30 second intro, the album opens with the bone crushing riffs of “Devour the Dead.” Our first glimpse (?) at Melissa Pinion’s vocals hit right away. Her voice is clear and strong, and her delivery is steady. She seems quite comfortable in the doom universe. The music is guitar-driven castle wall dreariness. Think Ritchie Blackmore’s formulations when the song is not about cars, or maybe a slowed-down Iron Maiden. The lead breaks are not so much shreds as they are studies in mood, although the guitars do occasionally cut loose (like in “When Old Gods Die”). The lyrics tell fantasy tales with a medieval orientation and a focus on violent conflict, plague, death, and darkness. The band is called Stygian Crown, after all. With this release, you are getting just what you expect. To bookend the set, “Two Coins for the Ferryman” is absolutely perfect for this album in atmosphere, theme, sound, and execution – from the spoken word intro to the extremely long fade out at the end. This band knows itself.
Stygian Crown will be released on June 26, 2020. Head over to the Cruz Del Sur store (link below) or the always reliable Bandcamp to examine all the available varieties.