Review: Moon Coven’s Sun King

Moon Coven Background

Moon Coven is a stoner rock/doom band hailing from Sweden. They have been compared to the likes of Mars Red Sky, Monolord, and Acid King, a huge compliment to any doom/stoner outfit. Formed in 2012, the band has already released six albums and EPs. Their newest release, Sun King, dropped on August 25 of this year. It’s fair to say that this was one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year, especially following the success of their 2021 album, Slumber Wood. I saw a metric ton of promotional material for this album leading up to the release, so I just had to see what all the fuss was about.            

The first Moon Coven song I ever heard was Master of the Sky, a single released in 2014. Let me tell you: that song starts out shaking your speakers with the fuzz and distortion of those wah-wah-wahs we all know and love in this fandom. That led me to listen to the album Slumber Wood, which was very similar as far as being doom to the core, with its fuzzy guitars, crawling bass lines, and a general sense of dread and despair. (Yes, that is a compliment).  

Sun King      

Enter Sun King, a solid nine-track album. The first song, Wicked Words in Gold They Wrote, with its incredibly catchy chorus, starts the album out with a distinct stoner rock sound. Definitely not a bad first impression.

Seeing Stone and Sun King follow in the same vein, energetic while still bringing plenty of fuzz and heavy bass. Behold the Serpent is the heaviest, doomiest number on the album by a long shot, very reminiscent of Slumber Wood. The bass throughout this entire album is phenomenal, but it particularly shines through on this track. In fact, the bass line and classic doom sound was enough to cement this song as my favorite from the album. 

Below the Black Grow is another favorite for me, giving a great psychedelic rock feel. Gilded Apple is a perfect example of Moon Coven’s uncanny ability to mix styles. I was getting some traditional doom vibes from the guitar paired with a rollicking bass and drums, and some very stoner rock vocals. That made for a great combination. The Yawning Wild has yet another nasty bass line that I just couldn’t get enough of.

Into the Light?          

Overall, I found this album to be a very polished, refined, and vibrant version of Moon Coven. I was actually very much reminded of The Sword considering the more traditional doom style and lyrics Moon Coven utilizes here. Comparatively, Slumber Wood was heavy and dark, even sludgy. Sun King feels a bit like crawling out of the abyss and into the light; almost like the continuation of a story or a new one altogether. It’s a very natural evolution.

Sun King definitely gives us infinitely more variety and depth with the instrumentals, doing a phenomenal job at combining elements of modern and traditional doom, psychedelic rock, and stoner rock. As touched upon earlier, Pontus Ekberg’s bass lines are out of this world and are one of my favorite things about the album. This guy has some real talent.

David Leban’s vocal style is what I would describe as an echoing chant, characteristic of a few doom/stoner bands out there. It definitely works with this style of music. However, he rarely strays from this tone, and that is my sole criticism: it would be nice to have a bit more variety in the vocal department.

It’s clear that Moon Coven has really put the work in fine-tuning their signature sound, proving themselves able to play multiple styles and do it well. If you can do that, the sky’s the limit. With this kind of talent and ambition to branch out and improve, I have a strong feeling that they’ll be (even more) successful. This is a band that absolutely refuses to stagnate.  

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