Svart Crown
Witnessing The Fall


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Newton USER (43 Reviews)
November 19th, 2012 | 15 replies | 1,703 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Svart Crown aren't reinventing the wheel, they're just finding new ways to break you on it.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

There are bands that try to be heavy, and then there are bands that just are. Svart Crown fall into the second category. The French foursome blend Death and Black metal in a tooth-rattling vortex, their sound falling somewhere between the crushing onslaught of Behemoth and the Sophisticated Black Metal Art of Emperor. Their second effort, Witnessing the Fall is largely driven by rumbling tremolo riffs and thunderous drumming, its ten songs tied together by themes of ancient Rome and “humanity in perdition”. While by no means the first to combine their two principle genres, Svart Crown – whose name translates to “Black Crown” and is pronounced as it looks – manage to create their own voice and vary their songwriting enough to make Witnessing worth hearing out.

“Where the Light Ends” opens the album with a feeling like black clouds gathering on the horizon; staccato tom rolls trade off with rising guitar trills, ushering in the brutal assault of “Colosseum”. Vocalist JB LeBail’s vocals include Nergal-style growls, a more traditional black metal rasp, and occasional semi-intelligible bellowing (think Emperor’s “Al Svartr”). His use of all three is a crucial part of Svart Crown’s sound, giving it multiple facets throughout the album. Even the short inhale before “Dogs of God” creates a moment of suspense before the monumental opening riff. It’s not all about heaviness, either; each song has breaks and turns that increase their listenability without sacrificing the overall momentum. As with most albums of its ilk, there are still moments of “how many tracks just went by?”, but with a few listens, each song begins to reveal its own character.

Though Witnessing’s production is generally clear, the instruments and vocals here are tightly entwined and founded on the prominent drumming, which often blasts past 200 beats per minute without losing clarity. While the instrumentation is top-notch, the band’s sound doesn’t feel mechanized like a lot of modern extreme metal. There’s an old-school swagger to the music, as if Svart Crown spent a night jamming to Like An Everflowing Stream before recording. Epic closer “Of Sulphur and Fire” gives some space to breathe, foregoing incessant pounding and spending much of its eight minutes building up to the final vamp with sparse, dissonant guitar licks that bring to mind Mastodon’s “Trilobite”. The album’s peak is the duo of “Into a Demential Sea” and “An Eternal Descent”, which include multiple moods and atmospheres, from the former’s brooding instrumental break to the latter’s runaway-train climax.

Svart Crown are working with a formula that’s been used before, but have a willingness to experiment and plenty of talent to set them apart from the pack. Witnessing the Fall is definitely a step up from their debut as the band have begun to come into their own. There are some tracks that you won’t immediately remember and others that haven’t quite grown out of the shadow of Behemoth, but overall there’s a lot to like. As a whole, Svart Crown’s sophomore effort is a gleefully suffocating affair that should keep your horns up and leave your neck sore in the morning. Like all the best death metal, it just hurts so good.

Highlights:
An Eternal Descent
Colosseum
Into A Demential Sea



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user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
pedro70512
November 19th 2012



2411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

ignore the BloodandRainbows review, my comp logged me in on my backup when I posted it. gracias.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



6934 Comments


Alt? Sure anyways, good review have a POS

pedro70512
November 19th 2012



2411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thanks, and yeah it's an alt. I got tired of people assuming my name is actually Pedro so I use that one for commenting and this for reviews.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



6934 Comments


This actually sounds like something I'd be into been on a bm craving for a while now

pedro70512
November 19th 2012



2411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

check out Al Azif by The Great Old Ones while you're at it. that's my 2012 aoty. black metal more in the WITTR vein.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



6934 Comments


I've actually got that on my downloads list from iTunes, ill bump it to the start of my listening list : )

pedro70512
November 19th 2012



2411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

it appears you commented on my review of it, actually. hooray for returning customers :P

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



6934 Comments


I have my usuals : )

BloodandRainbows
November 19th 2012



221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mods got rid of the double review. good to see them doing their housekeeping.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



6934 Comments


What do you mean souly?

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



9033 Comments


Are you from Louisiana?

BloodandRainbows
November 19th 2012



221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm afraid I don't follow.

FrozenVain
November 20th 2012



2372 Comments


"album cover looks crap but ill give it a lsiten"

You look like crap! The album cover is tasty.

BloodandRainbows
November 20th 2012



221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

perhaps he was looking for something more like the cartoon zombie shirts you find at hot topic?

thelastsignal
November 20th 2012



986 Comments


Great review, pos'd! This sounds really good, I will listen soon.

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun



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