CROWNED IN EARTH - Metempsychosis

Crowned In Earth - Metempsychosis

6 songs
46:43 minutes
***** **
Sonic Mermaid


Kevin Lawry used to play doom metal under the name Silent Winter, releasing two demos, two EPs and two longplayers. In 2008 he decided to broaden his musical outlook and started the project Crowned In Earth with which he released a demo the same year, and two years later the debut album Visions Of The Haunted. His style was still quite doomy back then, but on the second longplayer A Vortex Of Earthly Chimes, he was joined by drummer Darin McCloskey, turning the project gradually into a band, and also adding more progressive elements. Now it’s time for the third record, Metempsychosis, and another musician, bassist Pug, has joined Crowned In Earth which can now be considered a regular band. The musical orientation has gotten rid of most doom elements, favouring British progressive rock from the Seventies instead.

The album contains only six songs, but apart from the slightly catchier But An Echo, they all make it over five minutes. The concluding Travelling Road is even sixteen and a half minutes long! Having only listened to Crowned In Earth’s predecessor, I can say with certainty that Metempsychosis is a huge step forward. Kevin Lawry is definitely a connoisseur of the Seventies. Pink Floyd and Camel seem to be the biggest influences, although there are also parallels to Genesis and King Crimson. His love for the latter is a proof of his good musical taste, but the idea to use synthetic saxophones and flutes is unfortunately a weak spot on the album. If at first these emulated sounds feel strangely askew, they gradually will make you wish he had hired a couple of musicians to play them live. The same can be said for the piano parts on Symmetry Of Night, an actually nice song apart from the fact that some notes feel rather off. There is also heavy use of mellotron sound banks, and while again I suspect the artist of using emulations, it doesn’t matter in this case as the synthetic ersatz is so good that only very trained ears will hear a difference.

As an avid listener to early prog myself, I am always delighted to discover bands with similar tastes in music. Crowned In Earth may have started as an offshoot from a doom metal band, but after three albums they have arrived at their destination. Not unlike Opeth who undertook a journey from death metal to progressive rock, or even Cathedral who were at the very beginning at the second wave of doom metal but still managed to release a regular prog epic with The Voyage of the Homeless Sapien in the mid-Nineties, Crowned In Earth are also a band that matured with age and have rediscovered the mystical music of the progressive Seventies. I am convinced that they haven’t achieved their zenith yet. Next time, get real flesh-and-blood woodwinds players, and you might have a truly amazing masterpiece up your sleeve.

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