Doom metal. That marvellous and terrible thing that constantly reminds us of the struggles of existence and the smoke that envelopes a zeppelin in an industrial revolution atmosphere, or maybe not (cover artwork by the omnipresent Travis Smith). Judging by the name and the overall feeling of Northern Crown, we might think we’re dealing with one of the many bands coming from Northern Europe or the United Kingdom, devoted to that somewhat draconian sound that has made us suffer since the ’90s.
Sure, Northern Crown must have listened to their share of the usual My Dying Bride and the likes (as also shown by the nice cover of “Your River” put at the end of the album), and yet this record also hides much more. If you don’t know about it, this is a project from Florida — not exactly the first place that comes to mind when thinking about doom metal — currently consisting of Frank Serafine (vocals, guitar, drums), Leona Hayward (bass), and Zachary Randall (guitar, keyboards, vocals), in cooperation with the guest guitarist Evan Hensley for the solos.
If you are already familiar with the band, it won’t surprise you to discover that, apart from the solid and rightful performances in the epic doom realm such as “I Am Your Slave” or “Forged From Nothing”, Northern Crown is also extremely fond of that hard ‘n’ heavy branch of music represented by the good old Ronnie James Dio. In fact, throughout Northern Crown you will find many traces of Rainbow, Black Sabbath, demons, adventures, and all the imagery that the late Mr. Padavona loved (especially in songs such as “Chasing The Sun”); this mixture of styles gave life to a highly diverse and enjoyable work. You can even discover some kind of bluesy vein in “By Demons Bidden” and not only, among the many things that the four musicians put on display in this long love letter for their favorite kind of music; in short, you can appreciate some personal contributions that we hope can come out even more in the future.
Among the albums released this year, I had a similar impression when reviewing In Madness We Trust by the British band Tales Of Autumn, but in Northern Crown‘s case the doom metal elements are definitely more crucial. The album is going to be officially released on October 12, and if what’s been said up to here intrigues you, I would recommend you save that date on your calendar and pay a visit to the band’s website.