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Svart Crown - Abreaction

Svart Crown
by Lauren Fonto at 22 February 2017, 8:10 PM

In SVART CROWN’S bio, the the terrible happenings in 2013 are noted as reflecting on the music of their previous full-length album, “Profane”. While terrible things continue to happen in 2017, the band states that their current work is more personal, and that there’s a filter on the brutality of the music. According to vocalist/guitarist JB Le Bail, there’s more feeling and atmosphere this time around. With all this in mind, I was interested to find out how the abovementioned qualities showed themselves in the music.

Passion is a notable quality throughout the album. Vocalist and guitarist JB Le Bail gives one of the most ferocious black metal vocal performances I’ve heard so far this year. His vocals on barnburner “Carcosa” add to the inferno that is this track. “The Pact: the Devil His Due” contains another powerful performance, with shouts creating a compelling harmony with the rasped vocals.

While the album isn’t an easy listen, there certainly is a filter on the brutality which lends itself to consecutive listens. Other “not an easy listen” bands such as DODECAHEDRON and GNAW THEIR TONGUES, though I admire their work, are not as easy to come back to for multiple listens. Besides a ferocious vocal performance, there is also an onslaught of riffs, and big, resonant drum parts. The band does allow breathing space in their music, which to me is an example of “filtering brutality”. For example, “The Pact: the Devil His Due” provides a slower contrast to the previous track. “Khimba Rites” brings the atmosphere with its echoing guitar counter-melodies and low-pitched chanting. “Lwas” is a slow, ehthereal number which gives a final breather before closer “Nganda” lands the final blow.

Kévin Paradis is a highly skilled heavy metal drummer, and his compelling work is made further engaging by additional percussion instruments, such as the bongos on “Transubstantiation”. At this point I’d like to commend the production job on the album, which creates space for the abovementioned resonance of the drums, as well as creating space for the other instruments to shine as well. For me, highlights of Paradis’ drumming are found on “Upon This Intimate Madness” and “Nganda”.

Both Le Bail and Kevin Verlay do a great job building layers of riffs which are both sinister and beautiful. Counter-melodies add interest on tracks such as “The Pact: To the Devil His Due” and “Tentacion”. While there are the classic, scorching black metal riffs aplenty, there are also doom metal riffs so heavy they could crush the listener to a pulp.

The band have released a cathartic album that thinks outside the usual Eurocentric boxes. While it’s unclear which African/voodoo rituals they’ve been inspired by (in that there isn’t a definitive “African” or “voodoo” ritual) these elements nonetheless make for compelling listening. SVART CROWN have definitely shown growth on “Abreaction”, and I hope they continue to grow as a band.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Golden Sacrament
2. Carcosa
3. The Pact: To the Devil His Due
4. Upon This Intimate Madness
5. Khimba Rites
6. Tentacion
7. Orgasmic Spiritual Ecstasy
8. Transsubstantiation
9. Emphatic Illusion
10. Lwas
11. Nganda
JB Le Bail – Vocals, guitars
Ludovic Veyssière – Bass
Kévin Paradis – Drums
Kevin Verlay – Guitars 
Record Label: Century Media Records


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