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Northern Crown - Northern Crown

Northern Crown
Northern Crown
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 04 September 2018, 11:26 AM

South Florida, USAs NORTHERN CROWN present their sophomore Doom self-titled debut. From their Facebook page, “as one of the oldest genres of heavy metal, Doom metal’s roots are buried deep and anchor the extensive forest that heavy metal has become. NORTHERN CROWN pays homage to those who have come before in its approach to riffs, organ use, and pacing, but doesn’t let the old school ways of doom define it.” The album contains nine tracks.

“I am your Slave” leads off the album, with a slow and steady drum beat, soon joined by bass guitar and keyboards, followed by two harmonized guitars. Vocally, it’s interesting. I expected this big, fulfilling voice to fill in all the space that wasn’t yet occupied. Instead, I got these vibrato-laden, old-school soulful croons. And they work actually rather well with the doleful tones of the music. The whole of the track sounds like some kind of antiquated ritual summoning, using dark root magic. “Merciless, They let you Suffer” comes at you with lead guitar and an odd rhythm. The meter is 4/4 but, they accent on each one of the “off” beats. It creates a unique listening experience for sure. The whole of the song has a very stalwart feeling to it; a matter-of-fact bottom line.

“Forged from Nothing” opens with tentative staccato strikes and a feeling of despair. When those old-school keys move in, it leaves no doubt. When the main riff and vocals come in, this lumbering track crushes the life out of you. The vocals wail as if caught high in the wind, unable to come back down. “Chasing the Sun” has an old-school opening like BLACK SABBATH’s “War Pigs,” complete with the high hat tapping beneath the remainder of the instrumentation. Keys and bass work in a thick unison to create that heavy, soupy feeling. “The Desert and the Wind” is the longest track on the album, at over ten minutes in length. It opens with hopeful bells that ring out into the naked sunset. From there, the tentative emotions are overtaken with a heavy riff and raging, incensed vocals, with a hint of Death in them. The song then toggles back and forth, toying with your feelings, carrying elements of hope and despair with them. The long fade-out at the end, with church bells ringing, ends with the later.

“Righteous & Pure” opens with soft bass and rhythm guitars, sneaking around the yard like a snake in the grass, surveying. The vocals are whispers at first, and then the sound comes in full-bore, with a faster riff and a weighted, aggressive riff. “By Demons Bidden” is a slow affair, from despondent bass guitar notes and odd buzzing in the background. It wanders here for a bit, before the big guitar riff hits. He croons, “what do you see when you gaze in the mirror, does your soul quake and tremble at the thought of you facing your path…what kind of person are you?” It’s as good of a question as any, to really get you thinking about what you have been doing with your life. “Your River” closes the album, leading off with doleful clean acoustic guitars that give way to an awakening beast. Vocals softly moan, while the guitars build a crushing sound. It continues like this for what seems like days, days, or grey skies and relentless heavy rains. It picks up speed towards the end, with Death vocals.

Overall, the album is definitely rooted in the hallowed halls of the old-school genre of Doom Metal. So much so, that you might have trouble distinguishing it from many of the others out there trying to do the same thing. You can be old-school influenced, but you have to find a way to work in your own style into the music. They are somewhat successful in this at times, but overall, it’s inconsistent. For a sophomore effort, their sound seems to be something that is well established at this point, so I don’t think it’s going to change. It’s good, just not as good as something that they could have put some more of their own personality into.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I am your Slave
2. Merciless, They let you Suffer
3. Forged from Nothing
4. Chasing the Sun
5. The Desert and the Wind
6. Righteous & Pure
7. By Demons Bidden
9. Your River
Lineup:
Zach – Chief Doomologist
Frank – The Allfather's Crier, He of the Bloodstained Wings
Leona – Lady of Thunder
Josh – Rhythmic Corporal Assault
Record Label: Independent
     


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