Review: “UnCrowned” by UnCrowned

UnCrowned are a 5-piece Metal band from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England who formed in 2014 when Dave Smith and Dave Hills, two guitar players already in other bands in the local scene decided to write music together. They gradually found a steady line-up via word of mouth and by 2016 with the additions of vocalist Prash Sarma, James Cormack on bass and Luke Goodchild on drums they began to sharpen their sound. Since 2016 they’ve been playing local shows while continuing to write their debut album. The quintet have spent most of 2019 in the studio recording with Tim Kramer of Signal House Studios in the production chair releasing first single, “Devil’s Thirst” just in time for Halloween…

…Citing some big name influences and promising a Groove Metal orientated sound is one thing, but delivering it is another. “Devils Thirst” gets things off to a flyer with a classic Devildriver esq riff and Prash Sarma producing some neat pitch changes in the vocal department to introduce you to the bounds sound. Bright Metalcore lead flourishes add a touch of class and there is no questioning the quality of the sound. Clean crisp drums with well mixed guitars tells you that Tim Kramer has earned his crust and no expense has been spared in getting the material sounding right. “Berserk” picks up the pace with intertwined twin guitars harking back to a classic 2003 era Metalcore sound with hints at the kind of work that Killswitch Engage or Shadows Fall have laid down in the past. Its a fine solid headbanger of a track with Sarma’s growling uncleans talking through a tale of struggle against a familiar backdrop. A classic mosh pit anthem “Stand Your Ground” is a call to arms complete with whammy bar action that says “get in the pit if you dare” amid a whirlwind of riffs. Following some typical Thrash Metal lyrical themes with an updated hook, you had better stand your ground and make it count.

After a bluesy classic rock vibed introduction, the drums gallop in and return us to sender at the start of “Chrysalis”. While there are some clean vocals on this cut you get the impression that Sarma would rather roar like a beast than deliver them. A choice solo with a Judas Priest vibe lights the blue touch paper in the final third and brings in the final verse in style. The melancholic introduction of “For Hurry” changes the scenery to something with hints at something like the sound of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica with a slightly more Progressive vibe while in the final 60 seconds the guitars rise like a Phoenix from the melodic instrumental to bring in a little more punch. An instrumental pallet cleanser, it’s a Sunday morning cup of tea before “Kindred” kicks in full force for the headbangers, a track includes the bands name in the lyrics “for you will know you are the UnCrowned” while also having a fine solo moment surrounded by Groove Metal riffs. Slowing things down for the opening of “Hiding In Shadows” with a classic 50 second piece of melody, the calm before the storm, UnCrowned show off some find musicianship and understanding of the genre they’re writing in. The rest of the track is a blistering piece of material with some Gothenberg sound moments that have been brightened up while having that classical solo that adds a touch of shine.

A tale of debauchery “Thrill of the Chase” is a call for the inner animal that Steel Panther could have inked while keeping it a little bit more tasteful and there are hints at Motorhead being an influence though the swaths of dirty guitar work and unclean vocals keep any classic Sleeze Rock harking firmly buried in the mix. It’s a fun alternative but doesn’t perhaps have the longevity of the rest of the album because it’s a bit cheesy. “Purdence” on the other hand is a Metalcore blunt force trauma of down picked riffs with tasteful solo lick for the most part. Another Metallica inspired – something we laughably call “Lute Metal” – breaks the song into two halves before as Sarma screams about anxieties that were never there on the previous track. The feverish energy of “Knock It Back” is a call for death or destiny when the end of a bottle is reached. Just chug it down, you know you want to. Laced with a ripper of a solo and a closing circle pit riff, the quality on show throughout the album is unrelenting [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Devil’s Thirst
2. Berserk
3. Stand Your Ground
4. Chrysalis
5. For Hurry (Instrumental)
6. Kindred
7. Hiding in Shadows
8. Thrill of the Chase
9. Purdence
10. Knock it Back

“Self Titled” by UnCrowned is out 26th December and will be available over at bandcamp

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