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Stygian Crown “Funeral for a King” Album Review by Curtis J. Dupree

Stygian Crown Ryan Piorkowski and Alex Joo 910778 scaled

Now this is how doom metal is supposed to sound. From the production to the mixing to the instrumentation to the vocals, Stygian Crown have delivered an absolute winner with Funeral for a King and it deserves as wide a hearing as possible. 

Perhaps the first thing one notices when they crank up the latest from Stygian Crown is the incredible sound. Every instrument sounds absolutely massive, with special attention given to the rhythm section. Yet the guitars maintain an appropriate level of crispness and Melissa Pinion’s powerful vocals are never drowned out. 

Every musician here plays his and her part well. We get excellent riffs, great solos, killer bass and drum work, appropriate use of keyboards, and a powerful vocal performance. Melissa’s vocal approach tends towards the dramatic, which might take a listen to appreciate, but she’s got a powerful voice and knows how to use it. Some of her melodies here really elevate the songs beyond good doom metal to being truly great. 

It should be noted that while the band claims death metal in their sound—a la Bolt Thrower, specifically—I don’t really hear that too much on Funeral for a King. Rather, I hear primarily doom metal, both epic and traditional in sound. That is not a complaint in the slightest; it is just an observation. 

The proceedings begin with the title track, which is a fantastic instrumental. If these riffs do not get you pumped up for what follows you must not be a doom fan! 

Bushido” comes next and kicks things off with a killer bass and drum section. The vocals come in and already Melissa is demonstrating her power as a singer. This track is on the speedier end of doom metal, but it also contains slower sections. We get some catchy rhythms here. I also want to note the riff in the bridge because it is a remarkably strong riff. Rhett Davis also gives us good use of double kick on this track. 

Next up we have “Scourge of the Seven Hills,” a song that is sure to stick in your head after only a couple of listens. This track is slower in pace and alternates between softer and heavier textures. The vocals are dramatic and powerful. As the song gets going we are treated to some well-done vocal harmonies. Great riffs and hooks abound here. The bridge features both powerful rhythms and a great solo. This song is just excellent epic doom metal. 

Let Thy Snares Be Planted” is an unsettling interlude featuring dissonant strings. This brief interlude leads into the next song. 

Kicking off in such a fashion as to crush the listener, we come to “The Bargain.” We’ve got good riffs here and an appealing use of strings. I would describe this song as mid-paced with some faster parts. We are also treated to some of the album’s best vocals and hooks. The drums are once again a highlight and sound monstrous. The bridge picks up speed and features great riffing, a killer solo, and more great drumming. 

The opening riff of “Where the Candle Always Burns” slams into the listener. The riff in the prechorus is also a highlight and the chorus itself is excellent. We get an appealing solo on this track, as well as excellent vocals. 

Blood Red Eyes” is a stunning ballad. It begins with beautiful, haunting piano and strings. Melissa delivers a lovely, subtle vocal performance that gives way to a powerful chorus. 

One of the most immediately likable tracks on the album comes next with “Beauty and Terror.” The song opens powerfully and picks up speed, before giving way to an excellent chorus with powerful vocals. Rhett uses double kick tastefully on this track and we get another great solo. 

The album concludes with “Strait of Messina.” This track gives us an awesome riff, a memorable vocal melody, and a great chorus. Any fan of doom metal should be in heaven with this song. The bridge speeds things up and gives us more great riffs and lead work. 

To these ears, Stygian Crown represents a perfect blend of more traditional doom with more epic styles. Melissa delivers a powerful vocal performance, the rhythm section brings a monstrous bottom end, and the guitar work is executed to perfection. It is hard to see any fan of doom not loving what they find on Funeral for a King. This album is essential listening. 

Curtis’ rating: 9.5/10

Preorder the album HERE

Stygian Crown album cover

Tracklist:

  1. Funeral For A King
  2. Bushido
  3. Scourge Of The Seven Hills
  4. Let Thy Snares Be Planted
  5. The Bargain
  6. Where The Candle Always Burns
  7. Blood Red Eyes
  8. Beauty And Terror
  9. Strait Of Messina

LINE UP

Melissa Pinion – Vocals
Nelson Miranda – Guitar
Andy Hicks – Guitar
Eric Bryan– Bass
Rhett Davis – Drums

DISCOGRAPHY

Stygian Crown (2020, Cruz Del Sur Music SRL)
Funeral For A King (2024, Cruz Del Sur Music SRL)

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