It’s not often I’m compelled to listen to an unsolicited, unknown band nowadays, but when said outfit covers Candlemass—and a cut from Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, no less—now they’ve got my attention. Much as Candlemass’ debut was largely a studio project, masterminded by Leif Edling, Northern Crown also appears to be mostly a one-man endeavour with a host of guest musicians. Not that they’re from Sweden, mind you, but deep in the heart of death-metal country: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
That being said, there are no blast beats here. The title track does adopt a somewhat faster pace by doom standards, but still falls squarely into epic-doom territory, sounding more like something from the last couple Candlemass records—the singer even reminds me of Robert Lowe. “A Perfectly Realized Torment” slows things down and stretches ’em out to seven-and-a-half minutes, with some eerie organ adding a sombre tone to the proceedings. Nice ‘n crunchy doom riffs here, complete with vocals that recall the power-doom impact of Argus (a huge plus in my books). Their “Crystal Ball” cover is competently executed, but really, you’re not gonna improve on the original, so why bother?
Of course, it wouldn’t be an epic doom album, or even an EP, without at least one 11-minute epic track. “To Thee I Give an Orchid” certainly fits the bill. And no, it doesn’t sound more than a little too close to Black Sabbath, either. 😉