Svart Crown [France]
When I first encountered French black metal in the veins of Blut aus Nord and Deathspell Omega, I found it hard to understand, much less enjoy these bands. Fortunately, I chanced upon the somewhat more conventional style of Svart Crown with their first two albums, Ages of Decay and Witnessing the Fall, which felt like a nice bridging album between the styles that I was more familiar with and the uniqueness of French black metal. This year sees the band releasing their third full length album in the form of Profane, and with the pleasant surprises that Svart Crown has presented so far, it has certainly got me rather excited.
The style that Svart Crown has laid down on their previous two albums are still rather clear as the band introduces their sound with the introductory track Manifestatio Symptoms, but with the riffing style of Clement and JB, they manage to bring in a slight Polish sound with that chugging and crushing style, sounding as though Behemoth or Hate were playing French black metal. As soon as the madness starts proper with Genesis Architect, one is treated to a dosage of nice, brutal, yet somewhat experimental and unique blackened death metal, and with the combination of the brutal death metal-styled riffs along with the dissonant chords that are in abundance on the album, one can’t help but draw comparisons to their compatriots Aosoth.
The music on Profane also displays the growth of Svart Crown as songwriters, with a marked increase in the complexity and maturity of the songs. While the band retains the elements that they originally displayed on previous offerings, the songs on Profane are much more complex, with the band going through different styles, time signatures and emotions within a single track. Furthermore, the musicianship and chemistry within the band is also evident with the band sounding extremely tight throughout the rollercoaster ride, displaying the technical mastery of each of the members. Drummer Muller’s role in particular is extremely noteworthy and personally enjoyable, as he provides much of the drive on the album.
The atmospheric aspects are also rather prominent on the album, especially on slower tracks like Until the Last Breath, sending shivers down one’s spine. The constantly high tension in the air, combined with the technicality and complexity on Profane, extreme metal fans who enjoyed the recent Nader Sadek and Ulcerate releases would certainly also enjoy Svart Crown‘s latest opus, albeit with a slightly more blackened touch to it.