Review Summary: An empire burned and ashes arise…
I’ve always considered Svart Crown’s Profane
a take on a poor man’s Ulcerate that brings in a few elements from other influences (Behemoth comes to mind here) to help mold their deathly advance into the extreme metal scene. For the most part this loose description has worked for me; identifying the parts of Svart Crown’s music that I found interesting or profound while balancing out those occasionally lack-lustre moments that came with the territory of death metal that leans on some vague black metal-isms. The group’s 2017 effort, Abreation
took the band’s Witnessing The Fall
and opened up their sonic palette to a world where Svart Crown could develop into an amalgamation of quality genre-bending death metal.
Wolves Among The Ashes
is an ambitious release that begins to separate Svart Crown’s past releases to its current state of being. Even at a first glance it’s pretty clear that Svart Crown’s newest is a varied, evolving release. At times their brand of death metal becomes progressive as they hop around black metal, hardcore and some of the most typical death metal you’ll hear this side of 2010. But neither does Wolves Among The Ashes
conform to a simple hybridization of blackened death metal. After a short introductory piece, “Thermageddon” blast beats its way into a driving saunter. The mood becomes instantly frenetic as riff blurs into bass and lead alike, slamming the listener with a quick, proverbial wall of sound and in direct comparison to the band’s previous album, Abreation
, Wolves Among The Ashes
is more singular taking their sounds on a track by track basis - rather than wrapping the album in a singular instrumental motif. The album’s initial implied freneticism however isn’t Svart Crown’s only 2020 draw card. After what could only be considered a “Thermageddon'' beat down, “Art Of Obedience” and “Blessed Be The Fools” relaxes into a welcoming groove, relying on a more accessible yet completely dissonant driven riff fest and in turn bridges the gaps between some of metal’s more extreme visage.
Svart Crown’s newfound ability to change gears throughout Wolves Among The Ashes
brings a few new dimensional soundscapes into the light; of particular note is the unmistakably massive Gojira vibes during the mid-paced onslaught of “Blessed Be The Fools”. It’s these shifts in tonality that reinforce a semi-profound song-writing song structuring, if only allowing for some of the group’s slight identity issues some room for freedom. It’s these moments that create a level of disparity between greatness and middle-some mediocrity, a line not so easily defined in modern death metal. Wolves Among The Ashes
is not so easily lumped in with either crowd as its rewards come from repeated listens. The career trajectory shown by Svart Crown’s more recent releases showed many indications that Wolves Among The Ashes
would build on the oft misplaced, lofty expectations of Abreation
and for that, Svart’s 2020 effort is a substantial step in the right direction. Overall, Svart has brought a foundation of releases gone by and progressively tightened a grip on a now interesting, semi-profound soundscape - made real by some insubstantial flaws.