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CROWNED IN EARTH (Visions Of The Haunted) CD

'English Doom' is written in large letters on the left side of the CD inlay, and that's exactly what CROWNED IN EARTH delivers on their debut album, released in 2010 by Shadow Kingdom Records. CROWNED IN EARTH is the brainchild of Kevin Lawry, who has played all instruments on the demo but this time he is assisted by none other than drummer Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon, ex-Sinister Realm). At first I was afraid that 'Visions Of The Haunted' was a heavy slab of weepy and toothless doom, but on the other hand it would be unusual for Darin McCloskey to participate in such a band. So there is no reason to worry. On the whole, this album is a powerful and energetic affair so that it's no problem for me to overlook those very rare moments, when the songs get more cheesy.

CROWNED IN EARTH is oriented towards Lord Vicar and Saint Vitus, but classic heavy metal influences are not missed out either. It is also a pleasure that CROWNED IN EARTH avoid one of the most annoying doom metal stereotypes, namely that doom has to be slow. Of course they don't break speed records, but most of the five tracks are located in mid-tempo regions, except for 'Downward Spiral' where they push the pedal to the metal. That's one of my favourite tracks of this album. The melody, variation and riffs are top notch.

Additionally, the sound of an organ creates a morbid and sinister atmosphere for songs such as 'The Sun Never Stays' or 'Awaken'. Instantly I have to think of Italian bands like Death SS or Malombra. In sum, 'Visions Of The Haunted' is a very good start for CROWNED IN EARTH. The punchy production is loud and Darin McCloskey's drumming style adds a double-dose of power to each of the five epic tracks. Only Kevin Lawry's vocals don't please me. Well, he's no worse vocalist, but I am not convinced from his somehow monotonous style. But, after all, that's my problem and it should not prevent you from buying this album, because it's definitely a richly structured and strong debut.