There’s not much in this world that I love than epic doom metal done well. When you add in the “traditional” moniker in front of that definition, you elevate things to whole new levels of excitement for me. Alas, it’s impossible for me to actually have eyes on every genre feed out there and so, Stygian Crown‘s epic, traditionally flavored doom metal slipped under my radar. Their self-titled, debut full length from June of this year is nothing short of a behemoth, bristling with pummeling riffs and an underlying dedication to groove that evokes the most visceral of reactions better known in metal as “stank face”. Add to that the powerful vocals of one Melissa Pinion and you’re all set for a hell of a good time.

Thankfully for my beaten and downtrodden music alarm systems, there’s still time for me to correct my mistake and here it is before us! I was lucky enough to be able to grab Rhett A. Davis, who pulverizes the drums skins for Stygian Crown, to chat about his favorite albums and the works of music which brought him here today. And wouldn’t you know it, the selection is unsurprisingly excellent. It contains bands who are foundational to the sound that Stygian Crown deal in but also some more surprising, more aggressive choices that I wouldn’t have guessed would be on this.

But, regardless, they are all excellent. Scroll down below for some A-grade metal and don’t forget: Stygian Crown was released June 19th, 2020 and can be ordered via the Bandcamp link just below here. Happy listening!

Cathedral – Forest of Equilibrium

In my opinion, this is the quintessential “Doom” Record. The most dismal art laid to wax in my collection. Rest assured I don’t present this record like it was the first out the gate, no offense to those who carried the torch before this record was conceived. But, this album really made an impression on me! I just never heard a record like it before or after really. A singularly unique interpretation to “the riff” in a era of time where this just wasn’t common place.

Recommended track – “Serpent Eve”

Celtic Frost – Into the Pandemonium

When this band gets accolades, it’s usually due to the earliest of the catalogue. However, this particular album opened doors to music I would have never sought out on my own. For me, primarily the English Goth Scene and the Los Angeles Goth Movement. You have a record that has a full orchestra, a metal record. At that time, it was unheard of. Opening with a Wall of Voodoo track, unheard of. Lead Vocals that are reminiscent to Rozz William’s of Christian Death, not Morbid Tales. Knowing Tom Warrior now, he has a track record of pushing boundaries. Some see them as failures, some see this album as one of them. Personally, I regard this record as a milestone. Something that all bands should actually strive for. Damn the critics and the naysayers! A creative opus that is not only unique but creates it’s own genre.

Recommend track – “I Won’t Dance”

Bolt Thrower – For Victory

I personally love everything this band has ever done. So choosing a favorite is very difficult. But, For Victory… It really felt to me that they found a very solid stride by this point. Song writing, performance, and production. This album just sounds like a well oiled machine. That marriage of heavy riffs and incredible harmonies. They meet right where they should. As much as The IV Crusade has arguably the most memorable opening riffs EVER. There is a chemistry of influence here, a fine line that For Victory delivers. A band who are undoubtedly masters of the riff. The Black Sabbath of Death Metal, if you will. And like Sabbath, can never really be replaced.

Recommended track – “For Victory”


Mindrot – Dawning

This is a personal one for me. Personal in every aspect. There is no other band or album like this. Some Doom, some Goth, some Death Metal, Post-Punk, etc… If Neurosis strode the Left Hand Path with Sabbath, and Fields of the Nephilim. You have Mindrot. When I said personal, I meant it! I watched this band write and record, shared stages and friendships. This band carried the torch that lit the way for bands after them. I, being in one of them! There are very few bands I’ve seen live that had the intensity and power these guys possessed! That term “Catching Lightning in a Bottle?” That’s this album, Dawning. R.I.P. Matt Fisher.

Recommended track – “Burden”

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