- Iron Crown
- Before The Void
- Stoner doom
- California, USA
- 20th June 2019
Iron Crown is a new stoner doom band that doesn’t appear to be signed yet. Considering the quality of the recording and the fact that myself – an Australian – managed to happen across it – I’m assuming their unsigned status is by choice. Before The Void looks really fucking pretty, and in comparison to similar releases this year it’s definitely on par at it’s best and merely middling at it’s worst. Whatever means they are using, it’s working well enough.
The artwork is by Tuomas Valtanen (Dark Side Of Zen), a talented dude from Finland (First non UK artist in a while!). An eye grabbing piece with some complex framing and a color scheme that oozes “mystical” and “stoner” in equal secretion. It kind of reminds me of the cover for Mana by Idle Hands but with the focus on the hands inverted. There’s a lot symbolism going on as well, which looks great in purple.
If you like doom you might as well listen to it. You will finish the album and add it the memorized history of doom metal that lives inside your head. Albums big and small. It’s a bit closer to Dead Acid People and Black Mountain on the heaviness scale. It’s doesn’t commit to it’s darker side as much as I’d like. I wanted more death elements which was the promise of the opening track. I actually had to go back and make sure I wasn’t just imagining the album starting that way. The death coming in at the end of the first track was a revelation… or so I thought.
They do get the balance of vocals to instrumentation right here, I’ve criticized other doom bands for jamming too many vocals into the soundscape. These guys let the riffs ride out for decent chunks. The clean vocals are definitely serviceable but not very unique, it’s a trending style this year. The space makes the album feel longer than it is at 32 minutes. I don’t feel short changed by the end.
The space can become a little barren at times, fans of drone will find comfort here. I personally prefer a little more accentuation, some higher drumming or synth or death growls or something. There is a sense of “purity” to the sound that many will appreciate. Overall definitely one to consider for the physical collectors and doom heads in general. It’s just a hell of a year for our favorite genre and I think a 7 fits in the wider context of releases this year.
Fortunately for most of us, doom music is essentially a void that we can never fill. It’s a compulsion, it’s a tone that resonates. I honestly can’t say I’ve heard bad doom, at least not in the last decade.