Svart Crown
Profane

Profane is my first exposure the France’s Svart Crown, despite it being their 3rd full-length album, but considering the brilliance of French black metal that has crossed my path in that time frame, it’s not surprising that these guys slipped under my radar. And while this is more of a blackened death metal record as opposed to more traditional French black metal, there is enough strands of French atonality and blistering discordance to at least put these guys on the fringes of the country’s excellent scene.

Colliding with the slightly discordant, bristling black metal (think Aosoth) is a sturdy, Polish death metal sound (Vader, Behemoth, etc). Big burly production, deep bellows and plenty of grooves and march vie for your attention amid the tempestuous, atonal, tremolo picked riffs and atmospherics. And it all comes together rather impressively to form an album that gives lip service to two respected genres, and melds both very well.

Some other French elements bleed into the Polish rumble and tumble by way of straining ambiance and a few moments of haunting atmospheres, but when they come together it comes across as pretty impressive. For example “Ex Utero: A Place of Hatred and Threat” starts with foreboding strumming before absolutely exploding into a monstrous Polish death metal romp. And other than the intro “Manifest Symphony” and the tribal “Venomous Ritual”, those atmospheric moments of restrained menace are smartly woven into the tracks or start the tracks (the slow build of “Until the Last Breath” which again erupts into a fearsome Hate/Vader salvo). That being said, it’s pretty obvious that the band’s attempts at ritualistic atmospherics are more often than not some sort of haunting/atonal strum or warble rather than something truly experimental (it surfaces again throughout as heard on the title track and the otherwise savage “The Therapy of Flesh”).

That being said, Svart Crown is much more impressive when belching out huge Polish death metal riffs with touches of blackened sulfur. While a majority of the aforementioned tracks still deliver ferocious blasts, tracks like the snarling “Intern. Virus. Human” and closing duo of “Ascetic Purification” and “Revelatio: Down Here Stillborn” get right to the point with ample thrusts and stabs of death metal intensity. Still, the band isn’t just a shade from joining the French elite – but they are close and their mix of foreign elements to French black metal DNA could pose an imposing prospect if they can just elevate both elements a notch.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 26th, 2013

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