Extreme death/black metal outfit Svart Crown seemed to be on the top of their game on the newest album ‘Wolves Among the Ashes‘. The French quartet was founded by guitarist JB Le Bail in 2004. Svart Crown emerged as one of the underrated bands in Europe in the last recent years. Yet after the success of the previous album, ‘Abreaction‘ released in 2017, the band fused a fair amount of aggression, grooves, and extremity. As they explored atmospheric sounds and abrasive riffs, they pushed it further within the context of modern metal. In many ways, the newest offering ‘Wolves Among the Ashes‘ is a complex work of extreme death metal.
While ‘Abreaction‘ emphasized the atmospherics, the sonic grounds of the newest album harness elements of death and black metal. After a short intro Svart Crown begins revving their violent and extreme mechanism by exploiting the grinding drums and frenzied riffing. ‘Thermageddon‘ exhibits the inner core of the music. Svart Crown’s direct take on blast beats and brutality isn’t quite new to those who have been following them. The blasting power of the blast beats contrasts perfectly with the destructive riffs, elements which are forced into the song structure. Vocalist and guitarist Clement Flandrois creates another unique experience with his clean vocals. Svart Crown thus captures the modern dynamism of death metal.
‘Art of Obedience‘ explores new dimensions by infusing sheer technicality. Focus then shifts on experimenting with different soundscapes. It’s more of an experimental take on music that is overtly based on creating an impact with riffs. ‘Wolves Among the Ashes‘ reflects on new compositions to create a thematic atmosphere. Consequently, the focus here is on grooves and dynamic riffs. Drums are often stimulated by blast beats, yet everything seems to be controlled here. When the band stabilizes tempo, you can hear some ominous guitar tones, although each of the songs is built on instrumental atmosphere.
And by maintaining their sound quality you will find out that most of the tracks aren’t really fast. The album is loaded with sufficient quality of technicality. For instance, ‘Blessed Be the Fools‘ is driven into mid-tempo grooves. The ominous sounds of booming riffs and mechanical drums are merged with electronic vibes. Svart Crown pushes the boundaries to new and unexplored heights. Needless to say, that the attempt here is quite innovative.
The new album is regarded by the foreboding swell of atmospheric riffs, dynamism, grooves, and brutality. ‘At the Altar of Beauty‘ is my favorite song on the album, because it incorporates various modernistic elements. Despite the onslaught of brutality which has become one of the main features of the music, Svart Crown seems to focus on foreboding atmosphere with dynamic shift on mid-tempo parts. That’s where the band refuel its dynamics. Julien Negro‘s bass guitar thuds and creates seismic shocks of loud vibrations while Nicolas Muller reveals his skills and executes powerful blast beats.
Compared to the previous tracks ‘Down to Nowhere’ is mid-tempo, but it feels odd and unfitted. In my opinion this track lacks quality. The use of clean vocals and brooding atmosphere clearly shows that Svart Crown aim to toy with different genres. ‘Exoria‘ is another example of merging atmospheric elements of guitar melodies and modern black metal. Extreme riffing and dramatic clean vocals are remarkably combined. With the band’s latest output it seems that they are aiming to explore newer horizons. Musically ‘Wolves Among the Ashes‘ is a varied album. But what makes it so different from the modern bands is the experimentation with different styles.
On ‘Living with the Enemy‘ the guitars create an oriental atmosphere. The use of clean vocals at the beginning of the track makes a smooth transition to the growls and the music suddenly gears to up-tempo. Svart Crown has progressed since the previous album. In terms of musical direction, the newest offering is varied and twisted. I mentioned before that this album is rife with technical expertise. The French quartet exploits different styles of riffing, but regardless the band haven’t yet perfected their style.
Release Date: February 7th, 2020
Label: Century Media Records
- They Will Not Take Our Death in Vain
- Art of Obedience
- Blessed Be the Fools
- At The Altar of Beauty
- Down to Nowhere
- Living with the Enemy