Thursday, 9 May 2013

Kröwnn - Hyborian Age (album review)

Cover artwork, logo and layout by View From The Coffin
Kröwnn hammered their way into the consciousness of Paranoid Hitsophrenic after "For the Throne of Fire" appeared as the opening track on the Soggy Bog podcast 119.  It was a strong and memorable track with everybody's favorite Arnie quote from Conan the Barbarian (1982):
  1. Mongol General: What is best in life?
  2. Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. 
They have since garnered quite a few rave reviews and mentions in other blogs and webzines around the globe.  The very next episode of the Soggy Bog featured this album in it's entirety.  At one point the band enthusiastically had their pictures taken with members of Saint Vitus.  That kind of says it all.  Fans turned recording artists, Kröwnn keeps it old school in both it's doom metal stylings and in its lyrical content: Saint Vitus & Robert E. Howard, Death SS & George R.R. Martin, Trouble & Tolkien, Witchfinder General & Michael Moorcock become the combo ingredients for one heavy stew.

In a way, it's hard to believe they've only been around on a world stage for a couple months now, this new band (formed in summer 2012) has fast become a bright light in the field of doom.

Right off the bat, Kröwnn gives the listener a solid taste of what they're all about on the previously mentioned opening track, "For the Throne of Fire".  Flashes of crazy riffing and flash-bang syncopation followed by slow doom and double tracked vocals.  Mostly, the band stays at a midtempo pace, slicing steadily through songs like they're bodies that must be disposed of before sunrise, sighing heavily while wiping sweat from soiled brows.  "At the Cromlech" is a slow building song, perhaps more dynamic than anything else on 'Hyborian Age' aside from the instrumental (more on that one in a minute).  It's got a bassline that reminds me of "1-800 Suicide" by the Gravediggaz (who's old enough to remember the Demon Knight soundtrack?).  Also, I didn't know what a cromlech was before Kröwnn stepped in and rested its gilded self onto my life.  Thanks, Kröwnn!

While each of the three band members add their own inimitable voice to the affair, sparkplug drummer Elena Fiorenzano is a rising star among stars.  Her upbeat and busy drumming style elevates each song while providing the band with its true defining characteristic.  Whereas most doom drummers will stick to a simplistic, slow shamble, Elena thrusts each song forward with whirlwind energy.

Ceaseless heaviness in leather jacketed riffs glides across the album like a wizard-conjured cloud of locusts.  The band actually manages to create the sound of a storm on the incredible instrumental, "Stormborn".  Gusting winds pound out from the drums and fuzz bass, rain drops drizzle down before falling in sheets from the guitar of Michele el Lello Carnielli.  Kröwnn puts on a clinic here of how to paint moving pictures with music.

Much of the heaviness actually comes from Michele's vocals, which are sung in a low register.  They're neither too gruff nor too subdued, but strike the right chord for a doom outfit.  The tone of all the instruments here is neither too brutal nor crushing and never goes over the top, but just right.  And because the band chooses to emphasize high energy over slow moodiness, while still remaining moody and atmospheric, they speak with a distinctive voice within the field of true doom.

So what do we have here when it's all said and done?  A solid debut from a band who manage to sound like they've been around forever.  They manage this by hitting just the right balance of loose jamming and tight structure, a sensitivity toward ambiance, carving a groove for themselves soundwise and gunning it for the length of the album.  While there is definitely room for growth in terms of experimenting with different tones, tempos and textures, the band prove themselves capable, even as a rookie outfit of giving a doom craving audience what it needs and crafting memorable songs, which in today's oversaturated market actually means something.  There's so much more to say about this album, but I'll leave it to the player below to do the rest of the talking.

Highlights include: "For the Throne of Fire" and "At the Cromlech"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 39:09

Michele el Lello Carnielli - Vocals, Guitars
Silvia Selvaggia Rossato - Bass Guitar
Elena Fiorenzano - Drums

From: Venice, Italy

Genre: Doom Metal

Reminds me of: Conan, Gates of Slumber, John Buscema, Robert E. Howard, Roy Thomas

Release Date: February 12, 2013

Better Reviews:

The New Noise interview in Italian

Kröwnn facebook

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much! We're flattered by your words.


    + Kröwnn +


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