Conifer Crown Fire

Portland, Maine’s Ocean smothered all doom fans with 2006’s Here Where Nothing Grows, and now neighbours Conifer (who have shared members, practice spaces, tour vans, etc. with Ocean) return with their sophomore album, Crown Fire. Firmly embedded in the NeurIsis post-hardcore tradition, this instrumental quartet find their niche on the Old Man Gloom/Grails side of the subgenre. "Surface Fire” pounds out seven minutes of unrelenting yet melodic chordage, while "Cruciform Empennage” builds and releases emotional tension like Disappearer. "A History of Disappointments” is a brief, meditative piece not unlike Om, with its hypnotic sway. "Song for Krom” retains a throb that references 5ive’s psychedelic trappings while inserting flute and ELP-styled electronics. "Breathe.Hold” follows a similar tack with cello and "Into the Gauntlet” adds a xylophone to its military march tempo. The title track features the album’s only vocals and it’s the maniacally interpretive ululations of Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson that transform the 13-minute cut into an audio book with incidental music like Harvey Milk. With a lush, natural cover photo, Crown Fire speaks to a euphonious stratum of organic tempos, ominous chords and lingering miscellanea that distinguish Conifer from the crowd. (Important)