Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Northern Crown- "In the Hands of the Betrayer"

    Prepare for massive haunting melodic doom metal that will send chills down your spine. Northern Crown’s, “In the Hands of the Betrayer,” is an album that summons up plenty of dark melodic sounds.
    This debut EP features five songs that represent classic sounding melodic doom metal. Northern Crown builds enormous haunting musical atmospheres and comes up with a variety of sinister guitar riffs. Vocally, the singer presents the material with a loud melodic voice that also creates a chilling vibe. As he narrates melodic tales of terror, the band follows along by constructing even darker sounding musical landscapes. One area that really caught my attention on this album, was the band’s use of keyboards. Just imagine if Jon Lord was playing doom metal. Each keyboard progression perfectly compliments the song’s overall atmosphere.
    Once the album begins, the growing doom sound washes over like a gigantic wave and drags listeners into a sea of pleasant darkness. The opening song, “In the Hands of the Betrayer,” instantly kicks into a fast past heavy jamming riff. When the singer enters his vocals echo with fierce melodic presence. About midway through the song, the band slows down tempo and creates a cosmic sounding atmosphere. Also, the guitarist unleashes an intense guitar solo that deviates from the slower cosmic like section.
    “A Perfectly Realized Torment,” begins with a really slow tempo and throughout the song, the rhythm picks up pace. However, the band never departs too far from that haunting overall tone. I find the slower riffs to be extremely heavy and the sound gives the lyrics an extra emphasis. Song three, “Crystal Ball,” is a Candlemass cover, and works well with the other material on this album. Northern Crown sounds very similar to Candlemass, so the song could be mistaken as an original from Northern Crown.
    Now the track, “Approaching, Encroaching Storm,” is a bit bizarre, yet still works with this album’s haunting theme. The track features some fierce wind noises and a short spoken monologue. If anything, the storm piece sets up the final song, “To Thee I Give an Orchid.” This final song is the longest track on the album and continues to present that dream like melodic doom sound. Northern Crown even sounded a bit like Type O Negative with this song, especially during the keyboard parts. Towards the end of the track, the contrast of heavy sounding riffs and rhythms is matched by a soothing piano piece. The finale is magnificent and solemnly fades into the doom horizon. 
    “In the Hands of the Betrayer,” is highly recommend for all fans of melodic doom metal. Northern Crown constructed this EP with brilliant musicianship and the band faithfully follows the doom metal formula. The music is a great blend of haunting melodic sounds that welcomes all listeners into its dark harmonious realm. Don’t be afraid, and let the band guide you through this amazing five song musical creation.

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