“Stygian Crown”

By Dr. Abner Mality

When I read that STYGIAN CROWN describe their music as “Candlethrower”, I pretty much spit my pina colada all over the room. What kind of useless subgenre is this? Then I see that they think of their band being a cross between the doom of CANDLEMASS and the stately death metal of BOLT THROWER. Ah, that’s something I can understand!

I would say STYGIAN CROWN leans more to the CANDLEMASS doomy side, although every song has the thundering crunch of extremely heavy metal. Cuts like “Through Divine Rite” and “Two Coins for the Ferryman” have the ornate, almost baroque riffing style of epic doom as opposed to sheer obliterating death doom. They try to mix some bluesiness into “When Old Gods Die” but I don’t feel that is their forte. They boast a female vocalist, Melissa Pinion, and while that is no longer a novelty for even the heaviest metal, Melissa’s approach is different than most. Her tone is lower and more earthy, without the crystalline “diva” vocals or ear piercing screams. The singing here is not going to blow your headphones off, but it fits the ponderous, almost mythological approach.

I love what the band is aiming for, but feel they should edit their material a bit more. Some songs tend to be longer than they should...”Up From The Depths” and “Trampled Into the Earth” actually sound longer than they actually are. Despite that, one of my favorites is the ripping “Flametongue”, which is one of the longer songs yet it kills all the way through. The knack of knowing when to trim the fat is something that STYGIAN CROWN will learn more of over time.

“Candlethrower” is an awful phrase but the type of mega-heavy doom these guys portray will never go out of style.