Northern Crown – In A Pallid Shadow
Reviewed: June 2020
Released: 2020, Bandcamp
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Since their formation in 2013, Ft. Lauderdale’s Northern Crown have been independently releasing some of the most vibrant, epic doom metal that you’ve probably never heard. IN A PALLID SHADOW is the outfit’s third full length release and will quickly draw comparisons to Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, and other doom metal grand masters.
Northern Crown resides just a few clips from my backyard. Listening to IN A PALLID SHALLOW, I was totally caught off guard that with tunes as good as these, that Northern Crown has never made it onto my radar. It’s downright shameful. As the opening track “Leprosarium” opens the procession, it’s clear that the band has no time to waste. Quickly diving into a hooky main riff, Frank Serafine’s voice booms like the lovechild of Ray Gillen and Robert Lowe – he’s got a little classic rock rasp in his throat but plenty of range. As the momentum escalates, the synth accents that had been riding behind the rhythm quickly ascends into full blown Hammond organs like a reanimated Jon Lord, pounding the keys and punctuating the chorus into your brain as Evan Hensley spins you around with a blitz of solo runs. What’s the word I’m thinking of…epic? Yeah, that’s it.
The album ebbs and flows from straight balladry (“A Vivid Monochrome”), to brooding melancholy (“8 Hours”) to full blown Deep Purple worship on steroids (“Observing”). There are definite similarities across IN A PALLID SHALLOW to the more recent, organ heavy albums from Candlemass and the slick, melodic discipline of Solitude Aeturnus and Avatarium, but it comes across more as complimentary than plagiaristic. And speaking of complimentary, the abundance of musical flavors across the album melt together in a spectacular fashion. Equal doses of traditional metal, 70’s psychedelia, and an underbelly of old school doom make for fantastic listen with plenty of replay value.
Northern Crown may have the sleeper hit of the year so far with IN A PALLID SHADOW. The independent release, distribution, and promotion game can be a tough racket, but this is definitely an album that doom fans won’t want to miss. The band hasn’t posted any promotional videos for the new album yet, but get a taste of “I Am Your Slave” from Northern Crown’s self-titled album below.