Stygian Fair - Into The Coven

Stygian Fair - Into The Coven

(EP, Private, 2017)

It's rare that a Swedish band strikes in a way STYGIAN FAIR did when first digging in to “Into The Coven” EP. For sure, the production and general sounds leaves more to wish for as it is primitive and feels more like a demo than an official release. Honestly, it took a while to buy it all and get into the music due to the sound. But there was something that caught my interest anyway and right from first “By The Gallows”, the fine details and creativity in the songwriting show. It's a mix of FATES WARNING and SOLITUDE AETURNUS and how those bands sounded a bit into their careers. The structure of the riff and change in time definitely draws similarities to FATES WARNING while the general feel deviates for it. Another more contemporary reference that came to mind was CORSAIR; the muddy sound is what gets me to that direction but also parts of the riff. So, it's hard to label STYGIAN FAIR.

Heavy “Vessel” continues in the same vein but the modern touch in the music is gone - here we’re talking about old-school all the way. The line is thin between what is called Progressive Metal and Epic Doom, it works either way but the melancholy and the heavy riffs lean more towards Doom, as far as I am concerned. Trademark track “Stygian Fair” feeds the listener with yet another batch of nice riffs and I really like that the vocals go on and on for the first half of the song. Again, we're talking about good melodies and nicely structured riffs.

The harmonies are fantastic in “Waltz Of The Sea Monk”; it is a slow and mellow track even if it picks up a little in the verses. The changes really do well with the song. As I'm a sucker for a half-tempo chorus, this one really appeals to me. This is the song where Pontus Åkerlund uses more of his register too and it sounds fantastic when he hits the high-pitched notes in the chorus. Both music and vocals are rather laid-back straight through this recording. I like that because it sets STYGIAN FAIR apart from most other bands. But I wonder if this is how they sound live? If they do it's fantastic, else it's a different band compared to the recording. The second part of the “Waltz Of The Sea Monk” is a very cool mix of CANDLEMASS and ARGUS, very Doomy. It is phenomenal when the vocals come back again and wraps it all up.

Last song of the 6-track “Into The Coven” EP is “Disarray”; the odd one in the bunch as it stands out style-wise. Initially it's a modern sounding old-school BLACK SABBATH riff while the chorus is very light and catchy. The fun thing about this one though is that there are multiple sections in the song. After the two first verses and chorus comes a completely different passage. I had to think hard and long before it struck me. The chords and vocal line is ripped from TWISTED SISTER's “The Price”, deliberate or not it is still annoying and all I could ever hear when it struck me. After the third verse there's another section, Epic and Heavy and sums up the EP in a very cool way.

In general, I really like what I hear from STYGIAN FAIR, it's not perfect but their music is odd and stands out. It will be very interesting to see where they go with their next recording.





01. By The Gallows
02. Vessel
03. Stygian Fair
04. Endgame
05. Waltz Of The Sea Monk
06. Disarray


Pontus Åkerlund - Lead Vocals
Emil Holmqvist - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Anders Hedman - Bass, Backing Vocals
Per-Olov Jonsson - Drums, Backing Vocals