Crowned In Earth – Visions Of The Haunted   Leave a comment

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In such as a specialist form of music like Traditional Doom Metal, it takes a special musician to do it justice. You have to know how to write the riffs, how to build the atmosphere and how to stick to the Doom Metal blueprint but do it some justice at the same time. Kevin Lawry (Silent Winter, Khthon) has got together with drummer Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Sinister Realm) to create this monster of a recording out on the great Shadow Kingdom Records label. Lawry sings and plays guitar, bass and organ on the album and his musicianship is second to none in terms of zoning in on the Trad-Doom style. Musically inspired by all the legends of Doom starting with Sabbath of course but also modern giants such as Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Trouble but also the Funeral Doom sounds of Ahab. This combination of influences is common place among Doom Metal bands but not many nail the styles like the Crowned In Earth project. What is also important is Lawry doesn’t use any fancy studio effects or production, this is stripped down, raw and organic, you know the way it should be done.

Starting with “The Sun Never Stays”, the sound is what immediately grabs you by the balls. This is pure and honest with a huge guitar sound, crushing bass groove and solid drumming. There is a lengthy musical introduction to the album before the vocals come in and its so good, it could have been a instrumental and it wouldn’t have matter one little bit. When the voice does happen, it is a striking, clean tone you are greeted with. Lawry has the perfect kind of vocals for Traditional Heavy Doom, its clean but its commanding and it perfectly matches the guitar sound. Admittedly the songs might not be too original but its true English Doom and it carries on the time honored tradition of great riffs, melodic arrangements and the depressive atmosphere that is haunting and gives the feeling of isolation and despair. The melody lines are very retro sounding and very much in the early to mid 70’s Sabbathian style. “The Voice That Controls” follows nicely, similar in some ways but another cool, crushing song that never loses your attention. The drummer on this album is part of the great Pale Divine and there is more than just a passing similarity in some passages.

“Downward Spiral” is another killer track whose greatness is boosted by some up-tempo sections, these bits seem to fit effortlessly into the arrangement and don’t seem out of place at all. Some bands in the Doom Metal realm who insert these elements come off sounding forced and unnatural but here its executed with glorious ease. “Miles I Walk” is up next and sounds very much in the vein of early Cathedral, slow, plodding but with sinister riffing, this tune also features some of the best lead solo’s on the disc. The lyrics which seem to be very much from the personal point of view are basic but great, “Miles I Walk” has the line ” Stumbling Through This Life On Sorry Bones” which is pretty much how i feel at the moment. The final track is maybe the best on the disc, called “Awaken”, its a juggernaut of Doom Metal. A complete package, the funeral marching organ menacing crawls along with the ominous riffing but this time around it has a more modern Doom vibe meets Italian Prog Rock of the early 70’s. Bands like Reverend Bizarre is what you first think of when hearing this track but there is also a underlying occult vibe much like that of the early Italian proto-doom scene. This is also a track that needs a part two or a extension as it seems to finish rather suddenly and uncompleted and this is not a complaint, merely the song is so good it seems like it could continue for another 10 minutes.

Along with other newcomers to the UK Doom Metal scene namely Witchsorrow, Serpent Venom and Iron Void, Crowned In Earth are the next big thing lurking in the underground Doom Metal scene. The only negative side of this disc is its terribly short at only 35 minutes long and whenever you hear songs as good as these, that time flies by much too quickly. The good news is Lawry is suppose to working on the follow up to this beast and we should hear some news on that real soon. Can it be any better, yes it can but only just. The organ sound could be bigger, at times it sounds a little thin and the while the production is huge, it is still lacking something that i cant quite put my finger on just yet. These are very very minor quibbles however, this is a masterpiece that deserves to be sitting next to the other greats of Doom Metal in your collection. Buy it and be doooooomed!! 9/10

Crowned In Earth MySpace
Shadow Kingdom Records – Official label website

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Posted July 23, 2010 by doommantia in Crowned In Earth

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