Stygian Fair - Panta Rei

Stygian Fair - Panta Rei

(CD, Private, 2018)

I always try to pay attention to new Swedish bands to support the local scene, but I can’t define what makes me hook on to some and not on others. STYGIAN FAIR caught my interest with the “Into The Coven” EP, about a year ago. There was something in their music that really appealed to me, which got through despite the rather primitive sound. The mix of styles made STYGIAN FAIR sound very unique and the mix keeps going here, apart from the Epic Doom, Folk and Post Grunge trademarked on “Into The Coven” there’s also an occult touch here and there on “Panta Rei”.

This new one takes on where “Into The Coven” had stopped. The sound is still primitive which might make people look past this release. I really enjoy the honesty due to the naked sound and rough production and nerve in STYGAIN FAIR’s music is there. Opening “Forevermourn” shows that immediately. Another thing that makes STYGIAN FAIR stand out is Pontus Åkerlund’s delicate voice. His tone is very clean which makes the whole style almost folksy. The closest comparison should be Mathias Blad from FALCONER. And as the melancholy is there in Swedish folk-music as well as Doom, this goes really well together.

The combination though of the riffs and vocals lines on “Invisibility” draws more towards Prog Metal legends FATES WARNING’s early days. The angularity in the rhythms and performance sure add to the else smooth sound. The dynamics in “Astray” adds another layer to the sound; I love the mellow verse and the power that comes with the chorus. Also, the odd structure of the song makes it interesting.

One of the first thing that caught me when digging into “Panta Rei” was “The Sinners Trail” which has a really nice beat to it, almost touching upon the occult style of PAGAN ALTAR or HANDS OF ORLAC occasionally. Else, it holds the same great melodies and varied rhythms but still is quite simple and straight forward compared to other songs on the record. Another one that stood out from the first spin was mellow “Garden Of Loss”; the mainly clean and acoustic sound, sounds actually very professional. The overall feel in this song is much more mature and the balance between the instruments is great. Again, Pontus' fantastic voice stands out but the layers of music behind him does their part too.

I can’t say that “Reaper Of Souls” was an immediate favourite but along with “Sands Of Time, Part One” this has grown to an absolute favourite. There’s inertness to the whole sound which is really frustrating, but when music stir up feelings it’s the best. The heavy music topped with smooth-flowing melodies is very cool. The balance between clean and distorted sound in those last two works well. And with this, the rather dry distorted sound makes sense because it matches. Then, I can’t but love the addition of the Black-throated diver and the very bluntly produced orchestra that ends the “Sands Of Time, Part One” time track. It takes some time to get used to the sound on “Panta Rei” but once that have settled, a damn fine album shows.

7/10 


Links:

www.FaceBook.Com/StygianFair
www.Twitter.Com/Stygian_Fair


Tracklist:

01. Forevermourn
02. Invisibility
03. Astray
04. The Sinners Trail
05. Sirens Call
06. Charons Speech
07. Garden Of Loss
08. Reaper Of Souls
09. Hinterland
10. Son Of The Sun
11. Sands Of Time, Part One
12. Sands Of Time, Part Two


Lineup:

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