Metal Review – Crown: Psychurgy

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Metal Review – Crown: Psychurgy
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Crown: Psychurgy
Doom Metal, sludge
Candlelight Records
April 22nd, 2013
Release length: 57:54
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Crown, a Doom and Sludge Metal group that formed back in 2011, comes to us from Alsace, France as part of Candlelight Records Cult Series. While band photos exist, the two-members use initials instead of their full names. P.G. and S.A. (Stephane Azam of Hollow Corp.) are on guitars, but the latter of the two handles vocals. Up to this point, they have issued an EP titled The One last year, followed by a split release with STValley. For 2013, they present their destined to fly under the radars debut album, Psychurgy. Is this release another successful entry into the Cult Series, or is it nothing but a minimalistic flop?

Psychurgy kicks off with “Kyneski I,” an instrumental that shows off the ambient effects Crown is willing to bring in throughout the album. A dull rumble fades in slowly, and is met with some muffled, static-soaked dialogue from one man. It continues to grow rich and burdening, bringing in some effects akin to an eighties Science Fiction movie, an atmospheric theme that creeps up from time to time. “Kyneski II” starts out the same way, but not even forty seconds in drops the ball by adding cheap robotic-sounding dialogue to the mix that continue to appear throughout, effectively killing the environment each time. “Serpents and Fire” has what sounds like muffled and distant chanting for about the first half. After that, the synth-effects are replaced with guitars, though that tribal beat still exists in the drums. Harsher, studio altered vocals kick in around three-and-a-half minutes in as well. This doesn’t last long, stopping to focus on the the haunting melodies once more with additional keyboards that aren’t too impressive, but push it back to that astral plain once more.

“Abyss” starts off a bit hostile, and it appears again later on, but the rest of the track is empty and reliant on subtle melodic hooks and clean singing to get the point across. The backing riffs are pretty simple as well, but when coupled with the leads and drum beat, it’s almost impossible to not bob your head along to the music. While simple, it achieves a very dark and cold atmosphere that chills you to the bone, as if lost in the grim depths of space. And then there’s “Blood Runs,” another slower track that starts off aggressive, using rich melodic passages to weave a truly depressing atmosphere that will project your soul into the heavens, but sometimes ground you with various Egyptian-like riffs that seem to creep up here, and on other songs. The distorted shouting works perfectly at the end with the thicker music, adding a rougher edge to a sleek, melancholic performance. The effort ends on “Alpha Omega,” which features some truly violent Black Metal blastbeats with venomous riffs. The tone of that style does stick out through the entire song, though it doesn’t stick to such a fast paced assault.

While the minimal melodic elements work wonders for the album, it’s the droning cuts that stick out the most. “Empress Hierophant” feels like a march to one’s own demise thanks to the simple drum beats programmed in, and the loud buzz of the bass guitars helps to create a truly burdening experience, leaving the listener feeling absolutely helpless. “We Will Crush the Open Sky” throws in some additional synths here and there that create a catchy rhythm that can be a bit upbeat, while the clean vocals end up rather monotone. But, the further you get into it, the more dismal and crushing the performance becomes, making it a track you simply have to go back and hear again to fully appreciate. Sadly, that still won’t change the fact that it feels like the song just drags on after a while.

Psychurgy from Crown is a superb introduction to the group that Doom Metal fans simply need to hear. The crisp and sleek audio quality works perfectly with the additional synth, keyboard, and other Ambient elements perfectly to take the simple performances and slower paces to a whole new atmospheric level. Sadly, by the time you hit “Serpents and Fire,” things do become a bit experimental, and it doesn’t always work out, or even end up anywhere near as appealing. But, overall, it’s a highly impressive debut recording that shows an unbelievable amount of promise, making Crown a band you simply need to keep an eye on.

01. Kyneski I – 2:33
02. Abyss – 5:55
03. Blood Runs – 8:57
04. Empress Hierophant – 8:42
05. Serpents and Fire – 6:25
06. Kynesyk II – 1:42
07. Telepath – 3:25
08. We Will Crush the Open Sky – 7:43
09. Psychurgy – 5:51
10. Alpha Omega – 6:41
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Crown (band)
Crown

Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records via Earsplit PR.