Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kröwnn - Hyborian Age


I cannot stress this enough and I know I have said this way more times than I can count, but the combination of Italy and doom is so egregious, so profoundly beautiful and possesses such an innate sense of class, all the while being topped with such a sense of dynamism, that one has to believe that if you like doom in all its down tuned thundering glory and cannot get enough of the genre along with its vast sub-genres then a better scene than Italy doesn’t exist. Out of the country that has graced us with the eccentric mad genius of doom that is Paul Chain, the monolithic dirge draped Abysmal Grief and the incomprehensible conglomeration of doom and progressive rock in a way never dreamed of before by Black Hole, the country, overflowing with musicians of such unfathomable talent and love for doom that happily dives into the territory of fanaticism, has bestowed upon us a new trio that goes by the name of ‘Kröwnn’.

Kröwnn was formed in the summer of 2012 in Venice and has Michele el Lello Carnielli handling the duties of both lead singer as well as guitarist and is backed by two ladies going by the names of Silvia Selvaggia Rossato and Elena Fiorenzano handling the bass guitar and drums respectively.  They released their rather lengthy debut demo entitled ‘Hyborian Age’ spanning almost 40 minutes spread out almost evenly over the six tracks. A cursory look at the artwork leaves you enthralled and curious. A wizard gazes at you standing at an edge of a desert while moons and stars of different colors dot the sky and a gargantuan beast resembling a woolly mammoth roams freely as smoke rises. Combine that imagery with the title of this release and you put together the pieces of the puzzle that give you the thematic proclivity of the band which is an utter reverence towards the fantasy worlds created by authors such as Howard, Moorcock, Tolkien and Martin as well an undying love towards Conan The Barbarian, a topic that fits the genre of doom metal perfectly with all its masculinity and yet is not discussed enough.

Needless to say, Kröwnn play doom metal that has a predilection towards the old school and though they gyrate around power riffs the trio often manoeuvre towards the spectrum of stoner territories and even baste them together with the utmost of repose. However, don’t expect, expansive soundscapes depicting meandering into the sun baked desert or the journeys into the psychedelia induced unknown expanses, but instead take a look at the artwork, drawn in all it warm soothing colors and experience rather a laid back wall of fuzzy sound that acts as in impressive weapon to a strong repertoire of the band. An extremely consistent and fluent release what is truly amazing is their sound writing and how the band manages to string together pieces and form one coherent track after another. Right from the epic feel of the ‘For the Throne of Fire’ which is an instant throwback to ‘Nightfall’ era ‘Candlemass’ or the groove draped stoner embracing that were atypical of ‘The Ethereal Mirror’ era of ‘Cathedral’ on ‘The Woodwose’ each track has some new influences to showcase to listener which instead of sounding derivative and recycled come as a breath of fresh air on an already original release. As the quick choppy riffs of Pentagram and Trouble come to mind on some tracks the band also uses the soft strumming of the bass creating an almost fluid liquid sound as well as swirling riffs on ‘At the Cromlech’ to  remind the listener of later ‘Electric Wizard’. As the trio also throws in elements of hard rock to create catchy choruses and infectious riffs, what is to be noticed is the different moods on each track. If you have ‘Gods of Magnitogorsk’ to sound as the perfect theme to the fight scene in Conan you also have to deal with the depths of desolate despair on ‘The Melnibonean’. If you enjoyed the classic all out rock out parts on ‘At the Cromlech’ you are also subjugated towards going on a trip with the trio through the desert on the lengthy instrumental ‘Stormborn’.

As the lo-fi demo production and feedback a la ‘Sleep’ grips your mind with all its swampy filth you have to give a special mention to Michele. His highly emotive voice thrusts the band all along and has a range that is reminiscent of Messiah Marcolin on the epic parts, the deep sunken bellowing of Glenn Danzig and is at times even reminiscent of ‘Type Negative O’s great Peter Steele in all its sepulchral, forlorn driven power when deciding to sing on a higher register.  Throughout the demo the band permeates an esoteric intelligence by showing it knows what it wants backed by an unbridled creativity of the instruments through which the bands can bring forth unto the listener what the band needs. The song writing and song placing on the album is another brilliant feature innate here and how the band pendulums between the stoner and doom territories, often holding hands of both is truly a testament to the band and its ability to stand out in a genre that is over saturated with bands where the general norm is shelling out recycled Sabbathian riffs backed by no emotion.

Hopefully, these guys can land a record deal, and if they do, I hope they get an opportunity to re record this demo since the lo-fi production takes away a bit of the punch, which if professionally recorded will be a massive one.Keep this beast of a demo in mind. It is one of the best stuff I've heard from a new band for a while, and this is a sign of things to come from ‘Kröwnn’ then brace yourself for a brilliant journey.

SCORE - 78/100

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