Crowned In Earth
Visions Of The Haunted
posted on 9/2010 By:
Tally another under the win column for Shadow Kingdom Records. Their latest discovery is UK doom unit Crowned In Earth, the vision of vocal-guitar-bass-organ specialist Kevin Lawry. After bringing in drummer Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Sinister Realm), he set to work on recording debut Visions Of The Haunted, and he did so properly. The fine classic doom contained herein not only puts another strong player on the Shadow Kingdom roster, but more importantly, it provides that well-deserved yet oft-elusive instant push that a new act yearns for.
While no single influence makes up the Crowned In Earth sound, the chassis of their slow-riding hot rod can certainly be sourced to the Saint Vitus body shop. Many of the riffs that Lawry drapes over these 35 minutes have that methodic and subtlely self-menacing quality that Dave Chandler always gave to his minimalistic monoliths. One can even imagine Wino singing on these songs instead of Lawry, whose voice is more than adequate for the mood but also easily the least engaging part of the music at hand. More engaging, and one of band’s deviations from the Vitus standard, is the cathedral organ that shows up during some of the album’s more open and brooding moments. (It is particularly nice during the verses of “The Voice That Controls.”) Completing the full spectrum of sounds on Visions Of The Haunted are the very occasional stoner-paced grooves or a tasty diversion into Revelation’s patented laid-back “lounge-doom,” such as those trills during “Miles I Walk.”
Credit must also be given to the crisp, thick, and very classic production, as well as to McCloskey’s selfless but solid drum performance. In fact, the only real complaints about the album can also be qualified by its origin. Shortcomings in the vocal department (which really aren’t shortcomings, only the absence of a Wino-sized figure) or the lack of big signature moments in the songwriting can be forgiven because of how personal the album’s feel and execution is. This is Lawry’s baby, and the resulting honesty can be felt throughout.
It is exactly this honesty that gives Visions Of The Haunted the intangible doom metal “it” factor that will appeal instantly to genre loyalists. On their debut, Crowned In Earth has skillfully constructed an understated and well-paced example of classic doom teeming with stylistic tradition. It is guaranteed not to appeal much to the modern tech-death or ‘core crowds (a factor not likely to upset the band), and as such, genre novices are encouraged to seek out the source material first. But for vets of the molasses-paced arts, this should be a guilt-free purchase.
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