Monday, August 3, 2015

…exposed to the Dragon’s Breath: KRÖWNN – ‘Magmafröst’

The intersection of metal and fantasy is far from new, but few bands have embraced it as wholeheartedly and so convincingly as stoner-doom savages Kröwnn. With a void left by the unfortunate dissolution of traditional doom champions The Gates of Slumber the land has been without a king. Enter Kröwnn. The Italian trio, though practicing a groove-laden sonic form of barbarism quite different from TGoS’s Saint Vitus inspired traditional doom, is more than poised to assume the mantle. With an impressive debut already under their belts, the six track foray into the fantastical—‘Hyborean Age’—the band have returned with a vengeance on their sophomore album, ‘Magmafröst.’

While ‘Hyborean Age’ was indeed an excellent debut, ‘Magmafröst’ takes every aspect of that album and heats it in Hephaestus’ forge, re-works it and folds it, then hammers it out upon the anvil of Crom. The end result is that ‘Magmafröst’ rumbles with an intensity that eclipses its predecessor. The basslines are thicker, the riffs are dirtier, and the band, as a whole, locks into an irrefutable aural assault from beginning-to-end, save perhaps the atmospheric pieces, “Bennu” and “Cernunnos,” that bookend the album.

The most potent statement to be found on the album and, consequently, the track that best exemplifies Kröwnn’s modus operandi is undoubtedly “Wyvernking.” At just over the eight minute mark “Wyvernking” is an onslaught of armor piercing feedback, down-tuned grooves, and the bellows and resonate vocals of guitarist/vocalist Michele el Lello Carnielli. “Wyvernking” brings more to the table than just crushing riffs as the track launches into spacier territory due to some excellent wah pedal manipulation and tempo shifts.

Kröwnn have clearly bested themselves with their sophomore release as ‘Magmafröst’ improves on their debut in every conceivable way. The winning combination of the band’s quake-inducing rhythm section and Michele el Lello Carnielli’s catchy riffs and vocal swagger have catapulted Kröwnn to the forefront of the doom metal movement. ‘Magmafröst’ is a stellar follow-up to an excellent debut. Hopefully Kröwnn will continue to further develop and hone their sound for future releases.



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