Fallen Kings and Rusted Crowns

I’m just gonna go ahead and start a personal series called “Dumbass Steve Discovers a Band That’s Been Around a Long Time but He’s Just Now Finding Out About.” I’ve officially made it a habit.

In my defense, Pennsylvania/New Jersey’s Duskmourn (active since 2012) don’t appear to have any kind of super active social media presence or illustrious touring history. They aren’t signed by anyone – in fact this album seems to have largely been funded by a Kickstarter campaign. But there obviously must be a loyal following since, according to the band, their $4,000 goal was met in just 2 days! I couldn’t raise $4,000 for a new kidney in a MONTH if I had to.

That all said, I do wonder how these guys slipped through the cracks for me, because what the band is bringing to the table is SO up my alley – that being a super melodic and mighty brand of Folk/Viking/Atmospheric Black Metal that from first listen has had me absolutely hooked. Imagine taking Amorphis and Saor and throwing them in a cauldron with dashes of Falkenbach and Obscurity, adding a strong dose of Einherjer heft and feeding that potion to some majestic-as-hell mountain bird of prey.  Epic, right?!

The guys waste no time getting right down to some great melodic leads on the opening title track, giving off some very Esa Holopainen/Amorphis guitar vibes, to the degree that when the vocals bust in about 30 seconds into the song, I’m very much expecting to hear Tomi Jutsen’s signature bellowing howls come barrelling in. Instead, we’re treated to vocalist/bassist/ guitarist Walter Deyo’s more-than-capable low-end roar. His vocal range isn’t very far-reaching, but it’s perfectly suitable for what Duskmourn is bringing to the table. Again, it’s really the melodies from his and only-other-bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Bill Sharpe’s guitars that carry the day here, and they are doozies. Lot’s of Finnish-inspired folk and melodeath to be found all around, from the super upbeat and rousing “Deathless,” to the epic finale of “The Harbinger,” you’ll have a hard time not getting sucked in by the sheer enthusiasm and energy of it all.

The band does a nice job of balancing the super-upbeat with a little bit of Viking heft, too. “The Sleeping Tide” and “Blood of the Forest” both definitely show a good dose of inspiration from Amon Amarth, successfully changing up the pace and giving the album even more depth. Similarly, “Mountain Heart” really stands out with some more angular, Einherjer-tinged riffs that show off a good amount of muscle behind all the whimsical and fantastical folk atmosphere on display. “Among the Ruins” even injects a little bit of darkness into the affair, providing listeners with something a little more brooding and moody, like that scene in every fantasy movie where the hero is walking through some ravaged wasteland and evil lurks around ever corner. Run you idiots! Get the hell out of there!

I’ll tell you another thing, for a crowd-funded, self-produced album, Fallen Kinds and Rusted Crowns sounds fantastic. Robust layers of guitars and folk instrumentation, with everything mixed very well so that every aspect comes through crisp and clean – really a surprisingly well-done effort. Some absolutely top-notch thematic artwork as well. You can tell that every detail of this album was created by people that care very, very much about what they’re doing. I’m so glad that this duo finally found its way onto my radar, and if you’re new to them like me, I highly recommend checking out their entire catalog. So yeah, sorry I’m late to the party again – but I’m very ready to make up for lost time with this one. Guarantee this one ends up on my favorites of 2021 list. Go check them out and support these fantastic artists!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
July 16th, 2021


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