No Highness Below The Crown

Written by: AP on 29/07/2013 23:17:17

Fresh off the roster of the respectable Danish metal label Mighty Music, Danish/Icelandic stoner/doom metal quartet Plöw appeared as if from nowhere. The band, whose name is simply a debauchery of plough - a rusty exemplar of which is to be found in their rehearsal space serving apparently as a source of inspiration to this day, forming the basis for The Plöwman, an invincible character appearing in many of the band's lyrics - spent much of last year writing and recording their debut album "No Highness Below the Crown", keeping their cards close to their chests and remaining a rather stealthy presence on the domestic metal radar until the eve of its release this summer.

Despite arriving on the crest of a new wave of Danish metal deriving their influence from sludge metal alongside Barricade and Electric Hellride, Plöw are nonetheless a much different proposition, incorporating also the stress and weight of classic doom into their music. This influence is most prominent on the closing duo "Betula" and "Pendula", both of which share certain similarities with the Chilean/Swedish maestros Procession, but is also audible earlier on "Bloody Temper", a song rich on melody but riddled with sombreness. These songs form the flipside of the duality which governs the album: a juxtaposition between the more heroic and uplifting outlook of the likes of "Dig Deep", "Bloody Temper" (both of which dispatch obvious nods toward Plöw's Icelandic colleagues Sólstafir at their least meandering selves) and "Captain Fungus" (a serving of Baroness-esque prog/pop-sludge particularly akin to the songs off the "Yellow" half of that band's "Yellow & Green" double-opus from last year); and the mournful dirge of "Lord von Gus" and the two aforementioned closing tracks.

That the first half of the album was recorded during the summer months of 2012, and the latter in the Fall, probably contributed heavily to the shift in tone and mood that takes place after "Captain Fungus"; and be that as it may, the transformation adds to the album a sense of metaphysical travel. Stoner metal, by its very nature, is almost always in imminent danger of becoming too colloquial, and by altering the flow midway and introducing another dimension to the music altogether, Plöw manage to avert that pitfall entirely. The result is a well-rounded and diverse listening experience hindered only by the relative anonymity of "Margareth" and "Pendula", and the fact that the measly 8 songs leaves a burning desire for more - of the latter-half variety of song in particular. Still, fans of stoner, sludge and doom metal can at the very least now revel in the knowledge that Denmark, too, is getting a foothold in this 'trendy' fusion of styles.

Download: Dig Deep, Bloody Temper, Lord von Gus, Betula
For the fans of: Baroness, High on Fire, Sólstafir
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.08.2013
Mighty Music

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