White Crone – The Poisoner
Release Date: 22/02/2020
Running Time: 54:05
Review by “Dark Juan”
White Crone is Lisa Mann (Vocals, guitar, bass, and songwriting). You know, one of those really annoying people who are good looking and incredibly talented while the rest of us poor unwashed mortals have to struggle through life knowing that your only talent is managing to piss off as many people as the population of Wolverhampton with a single act. Granted, that act was putting up a picture of chirpy radio and TV personality Danny Baker on the internet and claiming it was Rosemary West (infamous child murdering horrorshow and one person I’m waiting to meet when I get to hell so I can kill her again and again forever). What? Pardon? I’ve digressed from my point again?
Good afternoon, friends, acolytes, denizens of the 13 circles and pet lovers! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Shame on you all for abandoning me so readily. Dark Juan has returned to you, to bless you with the benefit of my wisdom and syllabification, and I ask only that you give yourselves over to me, heart and soul. Then, and only then will you gain the paradise on Earth that I can offer you. Hey, I have to get my kicks somewhere – I’ve moved to near Halifax and there’s most definitely no virgins to defile here anymore and haven’t been for quite some time. Anyone? Form an orderly queue. No, to the left, Mrs. Smith. TO THE LEFT!
Enough of my blandishments. We are here for one thing and one thing only and that thing is heavy fucking metal. White Crone are providers of said metal today and we are going to take a ride through their debut release, “The Poisoner”. No, you don’t have a choice. SIT THERE AND DON’T MOVE LEST I UNLEASH MY GREAT RAGE AND FURIOUS ANGER UPON THEE, UNWORTHY KNAVE! White Crone is Ms Lisa Mann, based in Portland, Oregon, and she is primarily a one woman blues music making machine who decided one day that she would make a heavy metal record based on her love of Priest and the like from her youth. With considerable self-effacement, Lisa describes the name of White Crone as representing herself as she”…has very pale skin and is not as young as other female metal artists out there.” Dark Juan does not like this description, which is rather uncharitable at best, as age and sex have fuck all to do with talent and ability and everything to do with the cruelness of an entropic universe robbing us of vitality and life with every passing day and us humans being too stupid to actually learn to fucking get along as we all only have a limited time and we should all make like Lisa and DO what we dream about!
Opening the album is ‘The Dream Of Tiamat’, which could only be described as a statement of intent. There’s no fucking about here, Lisa just goes for the jugular, fastens her fangs in and starts tearing. One wonders whether her youthful appearance and vitality is caused by consumption of human blood…. The bass on this record immediately hits you, punches through the ribcage, gets your heart and starts SQUEEZING and doesn’t let go. It’s the musical equivalent of Judge Death hissing, “The ssssssssssentence isssssssssss death…” It’s very good indeed, and now Dark Juan has a new heavy metal heroine to go gaga about…
Title track ‘The Poisoner’ is also a splendidly brutal heavy metal song. Lisa’s vocal sits somewhere in between the vocal gymnastics of Ronnie James Dio, the mezzo of the always wonderful and Dark Juan teenage obsession Doro Pesch and the original Metal Queen Jinx Dawson. Lisa sings contralto with a powerful vibrato, but not like a symphonic metal nymph. She sings in the traditional, full throated style of the vocalists of yore – the Dio’s, Dickinson’s, Halford’s et al and gives absolutely no quarter. She can easily keep up with the best of the past and stands head over shoulders of rather a lot of modern trad vocalists. For example she could absolutely take apart Dragonforce’s current singer with a simple D-note held for six seconds. She’s got a very powerful set of…. vocal chords. What else did you think I was going to say? Perverts, the fucking lot of you…
The music, then! Lisa (for she appears to be a musical goddess! Sigh….) has written and arranged every song bar the Venom cover ‘The Seven Gates Of Hell’, and has provided most of the guitar work (with two solos contributed by ex-Glacier axeman Mehdi Farjami), all of the frankly murderous bass and the previously mentioned powerful contralto vocal and has created a musical monster. It is heavy metal with all the needless bullshit stripped away. It’s not constrained by genre. It’s not “-core”, or death, speed, black or anything like that. It is simply heavy fucking metal – that original, deceptively simple interplay between guitar, bass, drums and vocals, untrammelled by genre or ideal. The sole reason for the existence of this music is to tear your face off, but do it gracefully and as make it as beautiful a murder as it can. The vocal harmonies, and the power of Lisa’s voice are just spine-tinglingly wonderful and her guitar and bass work both superb. I can hear so many influences in the music, all classics – Iron Maiden (ESPECIALLY at the end of ‘The Seven Gates Of Hell’ – not a million miles from the ending of ‘Infinite Dreams off of Seventh Son’…), Judas Priest, Sabbath, Warlock and Coven are all notable for their influence on White Crone’s music. Melody. Musicianship. Songwriting as art and (witch) craft! These are all VERY GOOD THINGS. One does get so bored of demented howling and million miles an hour hammering (and that’s just from my bedroom hurgh, hurgh) and occasionally long for some melody. White Crone now also fill a hole that Ghost were filling by themselves (probably better too, because White Crone aren’t currently disappearing up their own musical arse by exploring their own mythos like on Kiss The Go-Goat.)
I love this record and I love Lisa Mann. For a blues musician to have come up with a heavy metal record that, although hugely traditional in sound, concept, lyrical themes and execution, that sounds this fresh, vibrant and exciting is nothing short of spectacular, reminds us in a timely fashion that the heart of heavy metal is the blues and has caused me to flood the house with a three month back up of hugely excited sex wee… Thank god I bought some new trousers. These are fucking ruined.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has emerged from its hiatus, come blinking and trembling back into the light and awards White Crone 9/10. A mark was lost because the record does suffer that most heavy metal of tendencies – to go wandering off into the musical hinterlands during the middle eight. That happens a few times, but it wasn’t bothersome…
01. The Dream Of Tiamat
02. The Poisoner
03. To The Abyss
04. Our Sacred Duty
06. The Seven Gates of Hell
07. New Planet Earth
09. Edge Of Gone
11. Under Hag Stones
12. 18 Rabbit
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.