REVIEW: SVART CROWN – “Abreaction”
You might be an avant-garde, uber-elitist prog snob or an old-school metalhead, but either way, you can’t really refuse a generous serving of some good, skull-crushing, face-melting death metal every once in a while. It’s like a much-needed break every now and then if this isn’t your everyday cup of tea (or pitcher of beer). Enter Svart Crown: a band known for their brutal take on blackened death metal. Keeping in line with its tradition of music that doesn’t disappoint, the band is back with their latest offering ‘Abreaction’. Coming in hard, ‘Abreaction’ takes no prisoners. The album marks the band’s new music with new found intensity and better composition.
The album opens with a doom-inspired death metal sound in “Golden Sacrament”. Honestly, it’s hard to really place this song in regard to what could follow less. The idea of placing this song seems a lot like opening a live set with a slow and brutal-sounding song that pumps up the crowd. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to open the album on slow, trance-like mood that pumps you up. Maybe it’s just me. “Carcosa” finally lights up the record. The sounds that a season headbanger craves finally comes into play with this song, finally bringing out the reason why people love Svart Crown in the first place.
A more black metal vibe makes its return with “The Pact: To The Devil His Due”. This song has a very strong doom mood to it that overshadows the other facets. The song steps away from this as it comes to an end. “Upon To This Intimate Madness” is a very traditional-sounding blackened death metal song. While not being short in expression, the song holds on to its sonic roots with its composition. The music is very reminiscent of Behemoth in many ways at this point.
“Tentacion” is the band’s attempt at creating tension in the middle of the album with some ambient arrangement and interesting textures. This song is far away from being heavy, but it shows the band in a new light. “Orgasmic Spiritual Ecstasy” seems to take off from where “Tentacion” left off; this song is a transition back into the blackened death metal sound of the band. This song really highlights the band’s maturity in writing music within a genre that isn’t necessarily very progressive.
From here on, the music on the album seems to sway from doom to a crushing death metal sound. And that seems to be the modus operandi for the rest of the full-length. There’s nothing wrong with that but, maybe a little variety would be appreciated. “Emphatic Illusion” continues with the same sound. The album comes to an end with “Nganda”, which acts as a summary of the album’s sounds as a whole. The entire album’s essence is squeezed into this one song, and it has a lot to offer in terms of composition.
‘Abreaction’ is a fine example for a blackened death metal album. Svart Crown’s sounds and potential is captured well on this record. While the music on the record calls for a lot of skill to actually be played, unfortunately, the record turns out to be very monotonous. Well, of course a genre that has to do with blackened death metal would pretty much be monotonous for many reasons, but there’s still so much to explore in this genre in regard to the feel and the atmosphere. In the pursuit to sound extreme and gut-wrenching, the very passive aggressive and meditative spirit and feel of a genre like this takes a beating. This album falls short on emotion, and I am in no way referring to a Pink Floyd solo when I talk about emotion in this case.
Even if you set aside the lack of emotion and depth in the music, the work on the instrumental parts speak volumes of potential. The vocals are pretty much spot on. But with the lack of depth in the music coming from a band full of potential, it only means that the music lacks conviction. The music is certainly suggestive of the band staying true to their direction and as individuals, they deserve all due credit for this. But musically, there’s a lot missing. The music as a whole feels like it was done just because one can make such music and pull it off. Sometimes the finest music regardless of genre is not only about what it has, but what it need not have.