Experience the magic of this traditional doom band with members of Cauldron Born (epic heavy metal) and the vocalist of Hour Of 13 (doom). If you like Witchfinder General and Reverend Bizarre, these fellas are carrying that torch. Onwards!
Allow me to direct your attention to Crowned In Earth. This UK band is the brainchild of Kevin Lawry, whom I have interviewed. Using but four words, he describes the sound as “progressive, doomy, psychedelic rock.” So if the idea of Genesis meets Pentagram appeals to you, listen up!
Crowned In Earth has released two full-length albums since its 2008 inception. Listen to both of them and you might detect a shift in direction. Says Lawry: “Visions of the Haunted, which came out in 2010, is a full-on traditional doom metal album. A Vortex of Earthly Chimes (2012) is a much more progressive-sounding record, full of different styles and musical texture.” Both albums will appeal if, like me, you dig the slow, dark voids of doom as much as you enjoy the bubbling light of classic rock. But why the shape-shift?
“I have always envisioned CIE as a band that will always move its sound forward,” says Lawry. “This is why there is such a vast amount of differences between the first two albums… I’m writing the third album at the moment, which will push the band’s sound even further!”
Lawry takes care of the guitars, bass, keys, vocals, and he’s enlisted Darin McCloskey to handle the drums. McCloskey is the drummer of US doom metal band Pale Divine as well as a great little-known rockin’ metal band called Falcon. A Vortex of Earthly Chimes also includes a mellotron player, Brian Anthony, adding to the olden prog vibe.
Lawry once owed allegiance to a doom metal band called Khthon. “I actually left Khthon earlier this year to solely concentrate on CIE,” says Lawry, who regards CIE as a solo project. “I have often preferred solo work to full band involvement. I usually have a very strong opinion of how I want a song to sound so compromise can be difficult.” Though he adds: “Darin is always on hand to listen to different arrangements and give me advice, as sometimes I feel like I need an extra set of ears.”
Prior to Khthon, Lawry was flying solo with a project called Silent Winter. “The vocals in Silent winter were much harsher and growled. I’ve developed my voice a lot since then and sing in a more clean style with CIE. I really like vocalists who have that ‘classic’ sound to their voice such as John Du Cann [Atomic Rooster] and more recently Magnus from Witchcraft.”
Lawry’s work on Earthly Chimes unveils his strongest vocal performance to date. The album is an ebb and flow of dark/light and simple/complex ideas. “A few people have mentioned the album having a space rock vibe,” says Lawry, “which I don’t really hear in the music myself.” Perhaps it’s the touch of spacey keyboards, or perhaps it’s the album art that directs the mind’s eye towards space.
“[The album cover] was created by an American artist, Brian Tutlo,” says Lawry. “He did a wonderful job with the cover. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted for the album cover so I sent Brian the album and asked him to draw what came into his mind when he listened to the album.” (I’m glad Tutlo heard a scantily clad space-sorceress with dragonfly familiars and planets coming together in the background, because I like having that in my mind too.)
Presently, a third CIE album is gathering in Lawry’s mind. “I have about four songs which are arranged and another two that I’m still writing,” he says. “I hope to begin recording later this year!” Now that you know a bit more about Crowned In Earth, harken! Here you have something to look forward to.
A class act! From Italy, they hatched in 2003 and have raised three full-length albums of worthy doom. Listen to this from their latest album Mountains of Madness (2011):
They’ve been kicking it since the start of the century. Sometimes bluesy baked-goods, sometimes hair-raising doom. Approaching the sound of Pentagram and Saint Vitus but doing their own thing, Ogre remains criminally overlooked. Get into it:
Mob Rules – Cannibal Nation (2012) AFM Records
Mob Rules are a traditional metal band wearing a power metal jacket, like Tad Morose and Nocturnal Rites to name a few. Listen to Savage Land and Temple of Two Suns to really get a sense of what Mob Rules can do. Listen to Cannibal Nation to hear where they’re at now. I sense improvement over their previous album Radical Peace, which was quite decent too.
My favourite thing on Cannibal Nation is the mighty “Lost.” With a touch of organ and a whisper of Arabic scale, I get visions of a Candlemass-Dio combo. Though the harmonious, catchy chorus brings power metal to mind.
The other tracks are largely dependable. On certain songs I hear more Dio-spirit in them than ever before. The single, “Ice and Fire,” has a celtic tinge. The title-track, I must say, is a tad generic: Iron Maiden riffs with added power-metal tropes. I demand that every song command my attention!
Acoustic guitars herald the beginning of the album’s final song, “Sunrise.” With its shifting dynamics, soaring vocals and acoustic guitar, it echoes a sound found on their first two albums, albeit in ballad form. I enjoy it, and I respect Mob Rules for moving forward while looking back. Despite a touch of filler, this is a solid album. It ultimately shows they’re hard at work mining for gold. I hope they unearth even more of it in the future.
An excellent US band formed in 1990. They’ve released three albums so far and are working on a fourth. If you like Manilla Road, these guys are crazy like that but with epic female vocals. The force is with Powers Court.
A Dutch band formed in 2009, Sungrazer are heavy and smooth like my brain. If you like Kyuss, you’ll like this…