THIS is how you Doom! STYGIAN CROWN have written a textbook on epic slow motion metal with Funeral For A King and demonstrate just how this art should be performed. This is one of the best doom efforts of 2023 and might just slip onto my “Best Of” list for the year.

This shit is heavy! Yet it is also stately and melodic…well composed and varied. The shadow of CANDLEMASS hangs deep over STYGIAN CROWN, but it’s not merely mimickry and there’s a thick burliness to the songs that exceeds what is generally heard from the Swedish masters.

The title track opens the album with a powerful instrumental intro…a strong song in itself, not a worthless throwaway like so many intros. It sets the table perfectly for the surging, chugging attack of ‘Bushido’. There’s a real BOLT THROWER vibe to this one that acts like an aural battering ram. Rhett Davis’ drumming is close to what you’d hear on a Viking war raid. STYGIAN CROWN has female vocalist Melissa Pinion giving a unique sound to the band. She has a much deeper, huskier sound than the typical “opera diva” we hear in metal…it takes a little getting used to, but adds a very solemn note to the songs. It’s great to hear someone who really has their own tone instead of “typical” singing.

‘Scourge Of The Seven Hills’ is more of a dragging, Gothic sound…much slower than ‘Bushido’ and adding a little of that “Yorkshire” flavor ala MY DYING BRIDE. ‘The Bargain’ is the album epic which crushes bones with killer riffs, yet it clocks in at just a hair over 8 minutes…short by doom standards. Good, because we don’t need more 20 minute tracks that beat the riff into the ground.

‘Where The Candle Always Burns’ is pure CANDLEMASS worship, which the Swedes couldn’t better themselves. The album takes a left turn with the mournful ‘Blood Red Eyes’…this is just piano, violin and Melissa’s expressive vocals. Not “heavy” in the usual sense, yet still dramatic. The albums ends with ‘Beauty and Terror’ and ‘Strait of Messina’, both classic doom in the traditional sense.

STYGIAN CROWN have given birth to an archetypal doom metal album here…birth rising out of a funeral. There’s nothing more doom than that.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality

Funeral For A King
Cruz del Sur Music