CROWN – Psychurgy (Candlelight Records)Tuesday, 23rd July 2013
Guys, the French have done it again. After listening to CROWN’S latest offering Psychurgy, I feel it’s safe to say that the record is a worthy addition to the growing pantheon of forward-thinking metal from the homeland of acts like Gojira, Hacride, Blut Aus Nord, Eryn Non Dae and the deservedly-lauded Deathspell Omega, just to name a few. And while a good number of those names often bring out polarizing reactions within the extreme music community, one would nevertheless be hard-pressed to argue that the French scene is lacking in creativity. And for this reviewer, the disregard for metal orthodoxy that the French seem to be so fond of is what our genre needs more of.
Experimentation aside, CROWN is definitely a doom act and admittedly, I am far from a doom metal expert. But despite my newbie status to the genre, this record left a significant impact on my earholes for a number of reasons. The first being the overall scope of CROWN’S sound, which is absolutely massive. After the ominous synth-laden atmosphere of opener “Kynesyk I,” the bulldozing apocalypse brought on by second track “Abyss” left my jaw on the floor. The production here is appropriately dark and murky, but to a point that still allows the compelling melodic undercurrents of the songs to shine through.
One potential disappointment for some listeners will be the absence of a live drummer (the duo have opted instead for a machine bolstered by heavy synths for rhythmic impact). However, CROWN use their electronics very effectively and are able to craft a drum sound that provides impact while supporting the other elements of their sound. Another selling point here is the use of dynamics- each song has its own ebb and flow, breathing in and out between moments of mournful contemplation and world-ending funeral fury.
In conclusion, CROWN comes highly recommended. If you’re needing a break from your normal cycle of heavy genres, take some time to dwell in the apocalypse of Psychurgy.