Crowned In Earth -
A Vortex Of Earthly Chimes

(CD 2012, 47:19, Black Widow Records BWR CD 148-2)

The tracks:
  1- Ride The Storm(12:20)
  2- Watch The Waves(11:30)
  3- World Spins Out Of Key(5:50)
  4- Winter Slumber(6:10)
  5- Given Time(11:26)

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Crowned In Earth are a British band formed around multi-instrumentalist and singer Kevin Lawry, who plays the guitars, bass guitar and keyboards. He's assisted by Darin McCloskey on drums and Brian J Anthony on Mellotron. Lawry also wrote all the band's compositions. A Vortex Of Earthly Chimes is their second album and the follow-up to Visions Of The Haunted (2010).

In the information I received together with this CD, it's said that A Vortex Of Earthly Chimes will take you back to the wondrous days of the early seventies releases of the Decca and Charisma Record labels, fused with a blend of sterling psychedelic doom inspired rock. Thus Crowned In Earth create a distinct sound of their own. They also wrote that the epic new songs retain the band's trademark low-end groove, but have now been textured with innovative arrangements and melodic instrumental passages in the vein of Camel, Pink Floyd and Atomic Rooster. Furthermore bands like Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Genesis, Pentagram and Van Der Graaf Generator are mentioned. This means that certain elements from the music recorded by those bands should be audible on this album.

So let's check out if this all is true. The album opens with the two longest pieces. Listening to the intro of Ride The Storm it immediately reminded me of two songs written by Steve Hackett, namely the outro of  Shadow Of The Hierophant and after that the intro of The Steppes. However, the remainder of this piece has nothing to do with the music of the former guitar player of Genesis. On the next tracks I couldn't notice anything related to Hackett either, but throughout the album I could clearly hear the influences of Black Sabbath and Atomic Rooster.

Sometimes the Mellotron parts reminded me of Genesis, but that's the only connection I could discover with this band. However, the early albums recorded by Pink Floyd did leave their traces on this album, and another band that crossed my mind is Hawkwind. I'm quite certain that Hawkwind must have been an inspiration for Kevin Lawry. I couldn't notice any influences at all of a band like Camel, but I think they're right when they describe their music as psychedelic doom inspired rock.

People who are into this type of music have to give A Vortex Of Earthly Chimes a try. The distinct prog rock influences throughout the album make sure that there's enough to enjoy, especially to those who like the early Pink Floyd albums with Syd Barrett. Even devotees of space rock might fancy this CD.

*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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