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Northern Crown - In a Palllid Shadow

Northern Crown
In a Pallid Shadow
by Eric Poulin at 07 July 2020, 4:02 AM

NORTHERN CROWN is an Epic/Doom Metal band based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the United States and have been around since 2013. This is their latest release (and 3rd full-length) entitled “In a Pallid Shadow” which came out July 3rd 2020, independently. I wasn’t familiar with this project in terms of their music, but I had seen their name on a few review websites and mentioned in some doom chat groups, so they definitely have a following. I am always curious to see what their brand of epic/doom is considering my love for bands like CANDLEMASS, SOLITUDE AETURNUS and SORCERER.

Let us move ahead with the review. The album starts off with “Leprosarium” that has a nice dirty guitar sound and some really “snappy” drums. Hats off to the very loud bass guitars of Leona Hayward, which is not always at the forefront in most doom projects. There are some nice keyboard passages that add beautifully to the atmosphere. I really enjoyed the naturally gifted vocals of Frank R. Serafine, his vocal style fits the music perfectly. The song has a fairly rapid pace, but still has an ominous tone where every lyric is sung in a prophetic fashion. It contains a very shiny guitar solo that I am sure will make Yngwie Malmsteen fans happy.

The Last Snowfall” is much more of a gloomier piece with a DEEP PURPLE edge to it (the keyboard sound used here is why I make that reference). Again, you have that pounding bass sound that just pierces through the music and some glorious choruses. I mentioned earlier about my love for the band SORCERER and this chorus is in the same vein, filled with passion and emotion that sends shivers up your spine. If you enjoy your piano notes and some well-delivered melancholy, look no further than “A Vivid Monochrome” that just resonates the raw feeling found in ANATHEMA of the early 2000's. The vocals are much lower than the previous tracks and have a slower tempo to accompany the light-inspired theme of the song. A nice quiet song.

8 Hours” has some intriguing guitar effects, an almost “middle-eastern” influence I would say, combined with a little of heavy distortion and dissonance. The song has more to offer from the gritty stoner-rock genre, similar to KYUSS, especially in the guitar tone used on this one. While I don’t want to sound repetitive, the vocals really take center stage and offer an amazing performance. What makes a good recipe for high quality epic/doom is having a singer, who has the ability to bring you on a journey and tell a great story, while expressing emotion, and all of those attributes apply to this singer. Just a masterful job on every single track.

The album closer “Observing” is no different than the rest of the album, a womping nine+ minute, choir-heavy, almost progressive number with its ever-present keyboards. Even if the song in itself has a relatively slow pace, it is packed with energy. The best parallel to be made with this song is that it is in SOLITUDE AETURNUS vein, when they were at their absolute peak (see “Adagio”). The perfect blend of heaviness, melody and dark lyrical themes, what more could you ask for?

Having heard of the band name on a few occasions, I feel privileged to have the chance to listen to their brand-new material. If you like musical projects that allow you to just drift and follow the flow, this could be the perfect starting point for you this summer. The production is very strong, and every instrument can be hard clear as day. I am extremely impressed with this project and I am sure they will continue to do so in the years to come.

Songwriting:  8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Leprosarium
2. The Last Snowfall
3. A Vivid Monochrome
4. 8 Hours
5. Observing 
Lineup:
Leona Hayward - Bass, Guitars (Lead)
Zachary Randall - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals (Backing)
Frank R. Serafine - Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Independent
     


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