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Stygian Crown

Funeral For A King

Review by Gary Hill

I'm a sucker for good doom metal. So, this set is definitely my kind of thing. In fact, I think there is a good chance that this will make my best of 2024 list. This band doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, but they deliver potent doom metal in the fine tradition of bands like Black Sabbath and Candlemass. Lead vocalist Melissa Pinion seems to have the perfect kind of voice for this musical style. I mean, she might have a range that includes other sounds, but for this, she nails the classic doom metal vocalist type of sound. They manage to incorporate some symphonic elements a couple places, and they include one ballad, but overall, pounding doom metal is the backbone of the release.

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Track by Track Review
Funeral For A King
Some whispering is heard at the start of this. Then super-heavy riffing takes over. This is killer, slow moving doom metal with some epic elements. It's also a great way to start the album. A faster, chunky riff comes in further down the road.  It's a particularly effective instrumental.
I love the driving bass pounding that gets this going. The song is incredibly heavy. It has more of a frantic pace, though. The first vocals of the disc come in on this track. Imagine Ozzy Osbourne merged with David Byron and add some operatic angles and you'll be close to the sound of the singing on this. The track goes through some shifts and turns but maintains the awesome doom metal sound.
Scourge Of The Seven Hills
Bass starts this track. It's slower this time, though. This is more atmospheric and creepy as it starts. At the end of that part of the introduction, drums herald a shift to heavier sound. It's very slow moving doom. I'm reminded to some degree of vintage Candlemass. This thing is glacially slow and about as heavy as a glacier, too. This keeps evolving, and it's another smoking hot slab of doom metal.
Let Thy Snares Be Planted
A noisy violin starts this. Chorale vocals and symphonic elements can be heard as this builds. This is a strange instrumental interlude that never rises to the level of metal.
The Bargain
They pound in with the metal here. This is another plodding slab of killer doom metal. I love the pounding, driving percussion on this, and the guitar solo is among the best here. This just captures that whole heavy, doomy thing so well.
Where The Candle Always Burns
Here we get more powerhouse doom metal. This one has some cool guitar soloing, and everything about it is strong. The album just seems to go from strength to strength.
Blood Red Eyes
Violin starts this, and piano joins. That makes up the backdrop for the vocals on this, the ballad of the album. This is a powerful piece and a great way to introduce some variety.
Beauty And Terror
We're back to the killer doom metal here. As strong as everything else here is, this seems even more effective. Perhaps part of that is the break that we got via "Blood Red Eyes," but this song is so cool.
Strait of Messina
There are no big changes here. This is just another great slab of massively heavy doom metal. It's a great way to end the disc in style.

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