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Stygian Crown - Funeral For A King review

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Band: Stygian Crown
Album: Funeral For A King
Style: Doom metal
Release date: February 2024

01. Funeral For A King
02. Bushido
03. Scourge Of The Seven Hills
04. Let Thy Snares Be Planted
05. The Bargain
06. Where The Candle Always Burns
07. Blood Red Eyes
08. Beauty And Terror
09. Strait Of Messina

There's no death doom in Funeral For A King, but traditional doom certainly got a whole lot heavier.

Stygian Crown is a US doom metal band that formed in 2018, featuring members of Morgion, Gravehill, and Abattoir. The band unleashed their self-titled full-length debut in 2020, a release with which they gained a burgeoning reputation in the modern doom scene due to their unprecedented heavy sound intertwined with traditional doom elements. Now, the band return to the scene 4 years later with their sophomore, Funeral For A King; how does it stack up in comparison to the debut?

Stygian Crown was certainly very heavy; I mean, the whole sound and tone almost bordered on death doom at times. However, at the same time, it was also rather melodic and at times catchy; it's really quite something when you hear Candlemass- or Pentagram-inspired riffs played with a heavy Bolt Thrower-esque tone, and Melissa Pinion's vocal style certainly helped by adding a unique and epic charm. Still, if you thought the previous release was heavy, then wait until you hear what's in store on Funeral For A King. The album opens with the self-titled instrumental intro, where you're immediately hit by some devastating chugging mid-tempo doomy riffs, crushing bass, thunderous pounding drumming, and epic background synth work. Here, the tone that I mentioned earlier regarding the debut is even more crushing, and as this is an instrumental, you could even be fooled into thinking this is Bolt Thrower slowing their tempo down and having a crack at some doom themselves.

So, now I've covered the all-important sound, let's move on from the intro to where the album really begins, which is with the track "Bushido". Here, the rhythm becomes slightly more upbeat, and the tempo increases (although still not really exceeding mid-tempo much, as this is doom, after all), and Pinion's vocals suddenly emerge in true traditional wailing doom fashion. Now, the vocals, as passionately performed as they are, may not at first seem the most suited for such an Earth-shattering tone and such heavy instrumentation, and the secondary vocals, well, they don't really seem to click in the mix to begin with; however, the vocals are something you'll soon become accustomed to, and the combination of the lighter traditional and more extreme end of doom really does seem to work upon further listening.

As the album continues, several moments diverge from the main structural path; one moment worth pointing out is the striking short orchestral-based interlude "Let Thy Snares Be Planted", which features a violin and piano. This might seem like a misplaced interlude for some listeners, maybe not even necessary as it doesn't seem to fit in naturally with the album's overall flow, but on the other hand, it provides a bit of freshness and diversity to the songwriting and album structure. Another track which feels as though it doesn't naturally fit into the album's structure, but makes a nice change of pace regardless, is "Blood Red Eyes"; this song is basically a doom ballad, with gentle sweeping violin strings, piano, a symphonic choir, and a slower, more passionate, almost operatic vocal approach.

There are 9 tracks in total, two of which are short instrumental interludes, and one that is practically a traditional doomy ballad (as I mentioned above); however, the highlight of the album for me has to be the closer, "Strait Of Messina". While the synths certainly add an epic touch to the songwriting, the instrumentation and sheer volume of sound may have crossed the border of repetitiveness for most listeners at this point. However, the second half of the track brings a delightful surprise in the most uptempo section on the album, containing a faster rhythm section, and the album;s catchiest and most memorable riffs yet in the style of Candlemass and Black Sabbath, before closing with a breathtaking Iommi-like lead guitar solo.

If you're a fan of traditional doom (you know? The epic kind, with memorable riffs, passionate vocals and fantastic solos), but just long for that extra heaviness in tone, then Stygian Crown could satisfy your doomy needs with Funeral For A King.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 7

Written on 27.02.2024 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 48 users
29.02.2024 - 02:14

Ok I was sold at "members of morgion." I read no further. I will be looking into them on my own tonight.
19.03.2024 - 09:17
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Wow our news man has a band. Same time amazing album.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''
I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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