Funeral For A King

STYGIAN CROWN is a doom metal band from Southern California, formed in 2018. They play epic doom metal with a pinch of death metal, telling tales of history and ancient mythology. Their well received self-titled debut was released in 2020 and the band now present us with the follow up Funeral For A King due for release on 23 February 2024 via Cruz del Sur Music. The lead single is Bushido which gives the listener a good indication of what is to follow on the album.

The band consists of Melissa Pinion: vocals (classically trained), Nelson Miranda: guitar, Andy Hicks: guitar, Eric Bryan: bass and Rhett A. Davis: drums. Band members have come from bands such as Gravehill, Morgion and Morbid Eclipse.

The album commences with the title track and also first of two instrumentals, but not just an instrumental. This is a crushing one and a good introduction for the listener for what is to follow. The lead single Bushido is the perfect track to compliment the previous one and begins with a thick thumping bass line, which is prominent throughout the track, accompanied by strong drums and powerful riffs.

Next up is the slower, doomier, sludgy Scourge Of The Seven Hills where Melissa’s vocals stand out. Track four is the second of the instrumentals and it couldn’t be any different from the crushing first one. Titled Let Thy Snares Be Planted, it is a strange little interlude lead by violins, pianos and orchestral arrangements.

No need for concern though, as The Bargain returns us to familiar territory with a masterful example of doom metal that ebbs and flows throughout the entire 6 minutes. Where the Candle Always Burns keeps the pace and consistency flowing with bludgeoning riffs and top notch vocals.

A change of pace enters with the haunting ballad Blood Red Eyes, backed only by violins and piano and highlighting the incredible range of Melissa’s vocals. Beauty And Terrorfollows with a fast and furious paced tune. To finish this fine slab of doom we have the perfect ending with Straits Of Messina, 6 minutes and 30 seconds of brutal Sabbath-riffage complete with crushing backing from the phenomenal rhythm section.

While not specifically a concept album, the songs definitely stay on theme. It has been said that the band pays homage to bands such as Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus and Black Sabbath and have even referred to themselves as Candle Thrower. However, with their strong debut and this masterpiece as a follow-up, I believe they have established their own identity within the genre and no more comparisons are required.

All Killer, No Filler – expertly played, sung and produced. If doom is your jam then you need this essential purchase in your collection. An album that will be spoken about further at year’s end when ‘albums of the year’ are discussed and will appear on many lists – it’s on mine already!

Peter Sym