Female vocalists in doom metal bands are far from a dime-a-dozen, but their presence is thankfully much more common than in previous decades of metal’s existence. There’s something utterly transfixing about soaring female vocals covering all the heaviness of doom metal in a haunting, ethereal light. Nina Saeidi is the latest to bring her immense vocal talents to metal in UK progressive doom outfit Lowen’s debut LP, A Crypt in the Stars. The results are nothing short of fantastic.

Due to the aforementioned lead vocals, one could imagine that Lowen might follow in the footprints laid by other similar doom acts such as Windhand or Messa. While there are certainly comparisons to be made here (particularly with the latter band), Lowen in general forge their own sonic path through an ever-present fuzziness that lends the entire record a feeling of abject heaviness and haze. Shem Lucas’ guitars lumber through these tracks like a slime-covered swamp beast, dropping riff after sweet, swampy riff with sloppy glee. Louis Suckling’s drum work is no less gargantuan and mesmerizing, complementing the seething beauty of Saeidi’s vocals and fuzz-laden crunch of Lucas’ guitars impeccably well. Album closer “In Perpetual Bloom” is the best example of all these elements operating at peak performance, vacillating from quiet/slow/pensive to loud/fast/brazen and everywhere in between over its epic 11-minute runtime. It’s a titanic display of progressive doom metal goodness that should scratch the itch of any adventurous doom metal fan.

Lowen are a young band that are absolutely stacked with potential. Given the progressive nature of their songwriting, I’m very curious to see where they take their sound next. For now, we can bask in the cosmic glow that is their auspicious debut, and know that regardless of where the future takes them, we’ll always have A Crypt in the Stars. It’s out now for streaming and purchase on the band’s Bandcamp page. Highly recommended.

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