“Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women”, exclaims Conan The Barbarian. I imagine as Conan The Barbarian is yelling this, the album “Patron Saint” by CWN ANNWN is blaring as a movie score to get Conan in battle with his mighty sword. On June 28th, the epic metal giants out of St. Paul, Minnesota released “Patron Saint” for the masses.
CWN ANNWN(pronounced coh-nuh-NOON) is composed of Julie Stelmaszewski on vocals, Mike Strohkirch on bass/vocals, Neil James on guitars, Harry Rostovtsev on guitars, and Jake Stone on drums. While drawing influence by bands such as Iron Maiden and 3 Inches of Blood, the band hired Ian Combs at RiverRock Studios with the recording of the album. The band has shared the stage with some monsters in metal including Gojira, Iced Earth, Trivium, All That Remains, and Metal Church.
Upon examination of “Patron Saint”, the title track starts off with some unique guitar work done by Neil and Harry, coupled by Julie’s powerful voice. I envision Julie wearing some medieval dress looking elegant, and just singing to the heavens as Neil and Harry play their guitars like battleaxes, while Mike lurches from the underground with his battle cries for backup vocals. The guitar solo adds for a nice touch, I was it was sustained a couple measures longer, but by now you know I’m a sucker for guitar solos! In this genre of metal, Julie’s voice would definitely get some nods and metal horns by the likes of Nightwish and Within Temptation and a wink from Tarja.
“Outlander” adds that classic metal vibe that will cause you to immediately proclaim victory with fist in the air, as it sounds like it’s going through some sort of time warp in the chorus. It makes me wonder if it’s about the time-traveling series on Netflix. During the second verse, you seem intricate and impeccable musicianship at work with Strohkirch and Stone just annihilating in the rhythm section while James and Rostovtsev storm through like chariots on fire with their guitar work. Nice nod to speed metal during the instrumental break, instead of fingers snapping, necks snap during the instrumental break. Very tastefully done.
Throughout this record, CWN ANNWN stays true to classic/epic metal with powerful melodies, songs that tell stories of angler fish and Eric Stanze horror films, while ripping through body armor with crushing guitar riffs, and squeaky clean lead guitar solos. This band certainly deserves more recognition due to this album. I am WANTING to hear more from CWN ANNWN, and this isn’t even my type of music as I’m more of an alternative rock cat. Madness To Creation gives these cats in CWN ANNWN three purrs times three meows of approval for a 9/10 star rating. This band seems appropriate for Viking country. Check out the track listing below:
- Patron Saint
- It Will Come From The Sea
- God of Needles
- Course of Obliteration
- Salient Ground
- Ice from the Sun
Fans can find CWN ANNWN at the following locations: