Abysmal Sounds (Dec 2013)
At times, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, cassette-only, four-track release from Australia’s Crone gets close to epic doom perfection. Its simple yet scything riffs are complemented by superbly emotive, cathartic guitar solos and subtly powerful backing from bass and drums, the pounding heartbeat of this living, breathing beast.
But what lifts this EP from being great to being incredibly great is the voice of Mandy Andresen, who also takes charge of four-string duties. Andreson is the singer with respected funeralists Murkrat as well as death-doom maestros Slow Death, but here her voice soars to new, impassioned heights. Some of her melodies and flourishes will send shivers down your spine, especially on the 14-minute epic ‘Carcosa’. Strength and sorrow. Just beautiful.
When ‘The Blade’, the third song presented here, rumbles into life at a slightly higher tempo, Andresen doesn’t miss a beat, her sharply regal vocals coursing through the music like a pulse. There is an element of Gregorian chanting underscoring her style, but this aspect never becomes a melodramatic caricature. Rather it feels like a natural extension of the music and the mournful atmosphere that the Sydney band so effectively create.
Some of the song arrangements could be tighter, and more distinctive choruses would help differentiate between songs as well as adding colour. The EP’s slightly compressed-sounding production makes the band seem distant, and while for some this might add character, for others it could prove to be a barrier to fully engaging with the music. These are very minor quibbles, which are utterly overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the songs.
In the minefield that is the genre of epic doom metal, it is rare to hear a band get it so very, very right. As ever, one dud note or poor decision could have brought the whole palace crashing down, but not this time.
This blog is all about searching for the finest examples of doom on the planet. Not just the good, but the extraordinary. Say hello to Crone. Truly Doom Metal Heaven.