Crowned hails from Brisbane, Australia and Ainulindale is their first demo release. Along with this promo came a note informing the listener about what to expect, black metal in the veins of Wolves in the Throne Room, Burzum and Emperor. Naturally , expectations were pretty high for the music of the band.
The demo opens with the title track, Ainulindale, an instrumental track, setting down the foundation upon which the music of Crowned is built upon. The riffs that accompany the drums are at the same time bleak, yet sorrowful and desolate, but still able to put the listener into a dreamy state, very much similar to other atmospheric black metal bands, leaving a fond first impression on the listener. Despite the length of the track, the band manages to keep the listener engaged through the numerous shifts in melody and through keeping the listener constantly in suspense through the trebly trem-picked riffs.
The second track, Mouths presents to listeners a more familiar style of black metal, complete with furious drumming, and it is perhaps here the comparison with bands such as Burzum come into play. The riffing patterns and the bleak atmosphere in the music are all reminiscent of later-era Burzum, even down to the vocal stylings, a more gruff version of Varg’s style. The introduction of vocals (finally!) on this track makes one wonder why this wasn’t included in the opening track. The closing track, Dusk presents once more the similar style of music, only this time replaced by a more melodic riff, leaving the listener again in a dreamy state.
While the production quality of the demo is nothing stellar, it does nothing to reduce the overall atmosphere of the songs. In fact, the fuzzy guitars and the at times muffled drums somehow add an overall more epic effect on the songs, further bringing out and emphasising the emotions intended by the band.
Some may heave a sigh of relieve after a full run of a demo spanning almost 30 minutes, with only 3 songs, yet Crowned has presented here that it is not impossible to keep a listener engaged throughout the demo.