On their debut self-titled album, STYGIAN CROWN introduces the sound of “Candlethrower”, as they name it, to the world, Candlemass and Bolt Thrower melded together. A devastating combination of doom and death metal, topped off by the great Melissa Pinion’s vocals. No way you can remain indifferent to trheir display of muscianship and charm.
Hello guys, you started your career as Stygian Crown with a 3 songs demo in 2018, the ideas were clear from the very beginning or the monster have grown little by little?
MELISSA – Stygian Crown has definitely evolved since the demo, with Nelson coining the “Candlethrower” approach when we were in the middle of writing the full length album. We hope to keep growing, evolving and getting better because the listeners deserve it.
Your debut album leaves no doubt: powerful doom death or death doom, how did you decide to go for that deadly combination sound?
MELISSA – I went into this album 100 percent focused on epic doom in the vein of Candlemass and Black Sabbath. It was probably inevitable that death metal would also play a role given the influences and resume of the other members.
There is something of Candlemass in your music, what bands have helped you to forge that sound?
MELISSA – I am heavily influenced by traditional metal such as Iron Maiden, Dio, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.
RHETT – CANDLEMASS, SOLITUDE AETURNUS, BLACK SABBATH, BOLT THROWER, TROUBLE, etc.
Your album will be out June 26th, when did you start composing the new songs and how was the recording process?
RHETT – Melissa has some song ideas and lyrics already being demo’d. I have a few ideas of my own as far as song structures and a few riffs to work on with Nelson (guitar). I’d like to have artwork, album title and the overall lyrical concept solidified by the end of the year.
You have chosen Cruz Del Sur Music to release «Stygian Crown», who found whom?
RHETT – They kinda found us so to speak? Bart/SKOL Records contacted in the effect to work with us but midway he put us in touch with CDSM feeling they could do more for us. I really would like to express my thanks to Bart and to Bob/LEGIONS OF METAL FEST. They definitely helped in how this all came together.
Melissa Pinion is a great choice for the band, you were thinking about a female vocalist from the start or destiny was there waiting its chance?
ANDY – We wanted to find the most powerful voice for the band that we could, and we had a few guys in mind. However, when we saw the video of Mel singing “Hallowed Be Thy Name” we knew she was the voice. She has the most amazing natural voice I have ever heard.
I think Melissa’s voice fits perfectly with your style, problem is that if she ever leaves (hopefully not) the band that will be a very hard position to fill up, it has happened with other bands before, what do you think?
RHETT – It’s not just a singer, I have felt that some bands cant adjust to certain elements missing? Some bands have been able to make that adjustment, others… not so much. Not every band can go from Bon Scott to Brian Johnson or Ozzy to DIO. However, I’m just happy being in this moment. I hope it is a long term band but not fretting over it either. I’ve been in so many bands, so many years of highs and lows, but again… right now… I’m enjoying the moment.
Your debut is a self-titled album, what are the lyrics about?
MELISSA – The lyrics are a mix of history and ancient mythology, with stories that derive from cultures spanning the globe. For example, “Through Divine Rite” is based on the Battle of Mount Vesuvius – a conflict between slaves and Roman militia. “Devour the Dead” relates to the Egyptian goddess Ammit. “Two Coins for the Ferryman” is a tale based on the “Dialogues of the Dead” by second-century satirist, Lucian.
All three songs from EP «Through Divine Rite» made the jump to the self-titled album, any kind of remix or changes compared to the original songs?
MELISSA – I would say all three songs are much more polished than the demo versions, but in terms of structure, lyrics and melody, they have not changed much.
ANDY – The songs were completely re recorded and the arrangements and instrumentation has been tweaked. We have a more clear idea of what our sound is so we updated them.
The cover artwork is quite symbolic, is that what you were looking for?
RHETT – Yes, absolutely. My first time working with Misanthropic Art and have been admittedly a fan for quite awhile.
The difference with many doom bands is that every song of yours has like a crazy button that you press everytime and there comes the sweet pandemonium… Flametongue for instance is a good example of that
MELISSA – The thing that drew me to this band is the dynamics of the three demo songs. “Trampled Into the Earth” represents doom, but refuses to be a slow song throughout. It reaches a considerable gallop halfway through that keeps things interesting. The same can be said about most of the other songs as well.
ANDY – That is the Candlethrower sound!
RHETT – I really didn’t feel this band needed to heed to some type of structured “Doom” archetype. Our sound is what feels natural to us and that’s what you are hearing. Our path may not be well tread, but it is ours.
Riffs are good and guitar solos are devastating, how is the craft process for all that?
ANDY – Nelson and I are really self critical with the guitars, and we have very different backgrounds in music. But we have found that when we get together we compliment and play off each other so well. Our solos are made so sound good on their own, but better juxtaposed with one another.
Any songs in the album that were harder to achieve than the others?
MELISSA – “When Old Gods Die” was probably the biggest challenge because it was written last and under deadline pressure.
RHETT – Agreed.
You think you will stay anchored in this powerful sound in next albums to come or you are a band bound to explore new territories?
MELISSA – It’s going to depend on what we, as a group, would like to do. But I would like to think we’d approach future releases taking into consideration the sound we wish to explore and the sound that our fans want to hear.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to see you on stage who knows for how long, so what are your plans for the future?
MELISSA – At this point, our immediate plans are to promote our new release and prepare for future shows. We’re already booked for major festivals in Germany and Greece in 2020 and 2021, with U.S. shows in the works depending on how the coronavirus plays out.
How are you dealing with the covid situation?
MELISSA – We are all staying at home making the best of it. I have spent this time writing new material, with the hope of bringing a lot to the table once we’re able to get together again.
Yeahhh! Thank you very much for your attention, congratulations for your great new album, if you wish to add something…
MELISSA – We appreciate Metal Brothers and all of our fans for supporting Stygian Crown. Once the Covid situation is under control, we hope to see you out in the world and promise to bring 100 percent to the stage.