Stygian Crown
Funeral for a King

Three years ago I reviewed the self-titled, debut album from California’s epic doom metal band Stygian Crown and really loved it.  I was happy to see my friend, Rhett Davis, drumming on it, a legendary drummer from Crimson Relic, Morgion and Gravehill, and many other bands, both past and present.  The original line-up with guitarists Nelson Miranda and Andy Hicks and Melissa Pinion on vocals and keys has welcomed in a new bass player, on the album, Eric Bryan.  Since the debut album the band has played overseas and has garnered enough attention for the band to forge onward with another epic doom metal record.

Funeral for a King is 9 songs in 43 minutes and this sees the band streamline their songs a bit; however out of the 9 songs, two are instrumentals and you all know my disdain for instrumentals on albums.  On this one is an interlude several songs in and the title track opening the album is actually a true instrumental.  The music is excellent, make no mistake about that, but for me, opening an album with an instrumental does not work as well as let’s say just opening with a regular song to get things going, therefore “Bushido”, the next track should have been the opener.  I enjoy the isolated drum and bass guitar opening prior to the guitars coming in and Ms. Pinion’s vocals, once again……are on fire.  Her voice is exceptional with her variety of tones.  In terms of epic doom metal, her vocals are some of the best out there in my opinion and in many sections this album sounds to me like early Solitude Aeturnus.  Various guitar melodies and dual-layering of vocals on this song are the stand out moments.  About midway in the doom really hits slower and plods and some homages to ancient Candlemass are highly evident and swoon quite spectacularly, with some nice double bass action coming through as the song picks up to a mid-paced crushing heaviness.

“The Bargain” is up next with a plethora of vocal aria’s to open this plodding doomy number.  This slow heavy plod, calls to mind Morgion, from Rhett’s past, in some respects, before the song picks up the pace with an epic stylized metal attack.  Ok, let me stop right here to say if possible, if they want to Stygian Crown needs to tour and a perfect tour for them would be alongside some epic bands, such as: Visigoth, Eternal Champion, and Greyhawk.  I really think this tour package would be stellar..Regardless of that bucket list tour for me, this song is ultra-heavy with memorable riffs.  The riffing on this album is even stronger than the debut album and just like that album the riffs are easy to make out, even with how heavy they are.  The strong production on this album also assists in that aspect.

The album ends with “Strait of Messina” where the doomy plod opens and the beautiful vocals come in with Pinion sounding eerily similar to classic and best Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin, with this song having a very Ancient Dreams type of sound..the main guitar riff is like a 20lb hammer sledgehammering away at your skull again and again and again and again until you have been hammered into the ground like a rusty old ass nail.  The song picks up with an epic buildup and trudges along with soaring vocals, guitar melodies and the undercurrent of the bass guitar is present. This is the way you end an epic doom metal album, folks.

Stygian Crown’s Funeral for a King is a damn fine doom metal album with epic and bombastic vocals and creative song structures with veterans from the scene, I would expect nothing less.  Rhett-you done good, my brother.  All the musicians in top form on this album and if you enjoy doom metal, with nods to epic heavy metal, or just really damn good heavy music, you will thoroughly enjoy this kick ass metal album!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 7th, 2024

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