STYGIAN CROWN — Stygian Crown (review)

STYGIAN CROWN — Stygian Crown album cover Album · 2020 · Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Nightfly
Unless they’ve somehow passed me by, great doom metal albums have been a bit thin on the ground lately, perhaps down to all this covid-19 shit. When it’s done right, no better example than the first Avatarium album, doom is as good as any sub-genre of metal you’d care to name but for every great one I could list probably tenfold tedious generic doom by numbers releases by bands who think all that’s required is a slow tempo overlaid by some low tuned sub-standard Sabbath inspired riffing.

It really goes to show how important it is what you listen to your music on as prior to buying a vinyl copy of Stygian Crown’s eponymous debut I’d given it a few listens on Spotify through headphones on the PC. Okay I thought but nothing special, but I was hearing enough that kept me going to back to it and eventually decided to buy it. Once I stuck it on the record deck the monolithic sound of the production really opened it up. Stygian Crown aren’t exactly what you’d call original but they clearly understand what makes a great doom album. The drums and bass are absolutely crushing as are the guitar riffs – a mixture of fuzzy and cleaner tones with some death metal touches thrown in, no doubt down to the fact that three band members also belong to Californian death/black/ thrash metal band Gravehill. The eight compositions, only seven on my vinyl version with When Old Gods Die missing, barring the short The Hall Of Two Truths intro are all of a decent length with nothing under six minutes. Devour The Dead kicks things of proper with a fairly typical slow tempo but soon moves up a gear where the guitars become even heavier. Throughout the album the band use plenty of tempo changes including the occasional faster double kick drum section which keep things from becoming stale. With a weaker vocalist this could have still been a strong album but in Melissa Pinion they have a powerhouse performer. She may not have a massive range but her deep, low and expressive register suits this stuff perfectly. Strong songs are what matters most though and fortunately this album has plenty of them.

I’m trying to be more selective with my music purchases these days, not always successfully, but I’m glad I took the plunge and got this one as it’s turned out to be the best doom album I’ve heard this year so far. If you’re into doom, give it a go, you’ll hopefully love it.
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adg211288 wrote:
12 days ago
Oh I know that problem all too well. Since I started my rediscovery project I often find myself asking: why haven't I listened to this in how long?
12 days ago
Wow! I'm in good company then. Though I do tend to listen to everything I buy at least once before buying more, I get these delivery gaps where stuff gets held up and then suddenly a bunch come in through the door at once and I can barely get through all of them before I find out about something else. Reading reviews like this one makes my order finger itchy!
Nightfly wrote:
12 days ago
Ha ha, I'm not that bad, I've listened to everything at least 2 or 3 times, often a lot more. Problem is once an album is passed the "new" stage it's filled away and may not get listened to for year's unless it's particularly good.
UMUR wrote:
12 days ago
I have so many albums lying around that I have never listened to and some of them are still in a plastic wrapping that has never been opened. My compulsive purchasing of albums went a bit too far at one point :-)
Nightfly wrote:
14 days ago
Absolutely, totally agree. By more selective though, for me it's more about cutting down on the amount of albums I buy which is far more than I can devote a decent amount of time to individual albums.
15 days ago
"I'm trying to be more selective with my music purchases these days, not always successfully." I echo that statement. But some albums are slow growers and others are stepping stones to something better by the same band. It's part of the fun of being a music junkie.

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