Thursday, June 6, 2013

Krownn - Hyborian Age [2013] (Demo)

Considering my lack of history with both Italian metal and doom metal itself, I honestly wasn't tempted to approach Krownn's ''Hyborian Age'' demo (which, at first, I accidentally took for a proper full-length) with a sense of zeal when I first found it in my mail, partly because of a simple apprehension that suggested the band's offering would turn out to be an appalling experience. My knowledge and more importantly love for doom doesn't go very deep, and my knowledge of Italian doom bands make harsh stop at Paul Chain. However, my recent and pleasant experiences with other new traditional doom bands like The Gates Of Slumber somehow urged me to dive into the demo, and after only a couple of tracks, I must say that I became very content with what I heard. Krownn is marginally rougher around the edges as far the most traditional values of doom goes, with a small and fairly versatile range of influences sticking to band members' preferences of traditional doom masters, but all around, ''Hyborian Age'' still follows the ways of its precursors at trudging gaits.

As stated, ''Hyborian Age'' is, above all, a homage to such old school mavens as Candlemass, Pentagram or even Sabbath picked up at a much heavier tone. The riffs are mostly muscular and granular and tightly composed, with a variety of harmonies and twists used to grab the attention of a wider spectrum of listeners. The bulldozing simplicity and sheer primal power of the riffs have a wonderfully coherent, mystically ancient feel to them, as if they were spawning right out of the beguiling, spectral silhouette of cover art, and these churning, heavy stomps are so wondrous that they have a heavy tinge of stoner rock and doom, which just another representation of how wide a net these guys can cast. The vocalist ragged vocal style is both a thing of enigma and enjoyment for stoner fans. Especially in tracks like ''The Woodwose'', he plunge into a deep, unpredictable vocal inflection, which, infused with the titular riffing that rock in the open, sounds like the perfect stoner/doom tune to blast through the stereo on a drunken afternoon. The balance of the tone is incredible; it's stuck somewhere between a grimy, filth-doused old school inclination and another, more more overt and modern texture, ultimately brought forth in western-sounding theatre.

The rhythm is great, the punches accentuated through the heavy manifest of husky riffage, and the bass just plods on, bearing its bombastic tone with pride. ''At The Cromlech'' was probably my favorite piece here; a feast of both desolate and memorable traditional riffs intertwining with that of a more traditional facet, rumbling as the vocalist takes on a more cleaner, NWOBHM-esque toning. However, ''Stormborn'' has to be the most entrancing of all with over seven minutes of chugging and doom-y goodness, and fairly brief stop near the middle where the Italians literally transport you into this western ambiance of stoner/doom psychedelia with moody, resonating medleys of guitar work swaying gently between everything. We're also exposed to plenty of experimental touches on ''Stormborn'', revealing the band's penchant to rarely erupt into a more creative complex of music. Krownn got me where I wasn't expecting it at all. An unprecedented ambush of stupendous, creative traditional old school stoner/doom that rocks so much harder than all the rehashing drones that you'd be astounded. Surprisingly, despite having nearly 40 minutes of brilliant content, Krownn dubbed their debut release as a demo. Well, that just means we'll get something even better and more extensive when the full-length comes. I'll just leave you with your beer and stereo now.

At The Cromlech
For The Throne Of Fire

Rating: 86%

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