Svart Crown – Abreaction (Century Media)

Wednesday, 15th March 2017
Rating: 8/10

Underground extreme metal charmers Svart Crown make the jump onto one of metal largest labels, Century Media with their fourth album Abreaction. Coming almost 5 years after their third album, Profane, and with a new drummer and guitarist (Kevin Paradis and Kevin Verlay respectively), there’s a great deal of change that can come with new members and time. Abreaction comes off as a bit more controlled and methodical, but a worthy successor to Profane.

After an oddly doomy start in the form of “Golden Sacrament,” those accustomed to Svart Crown will find “Carcosa” to be the frantic, all-out death/black pummeling that they love. But these two tracks do display the different sides of the band that you’ll see on Abreaction, with other scorchers such as “Emphatic Illusion” and “Upon This Intimate Madness” setting the abrasion factor high even if they still allow some experimentation and slowdown, while the bleak and crushing atmosphere of “The Pact: To the Devil His Due” and tribal-esque riffing of “Khimba Rites” bring the band into more sinister and plodding waters. No one face is stronger than the other, and the shifts in tone let the album breathe a little so one isn’t succumb to death-by-blastbeats. “Transsubstantiation” gives the best example of both worlds in one, with lumbering and ominous riffs being a counterpoint to the opening frantic assault. Two instrumentals also help to pad the atmospheric components without overstaying their welcome, with the almost spaghetti-western approach of “Tentacion” being a rather intriguing and innovative touch.

Abreaction lets Svart Crown experiment with their death/black approach while keeping their sound grounded and ultimately relatable for long-time fans. The varied approach to songwriting gives the band some of their finest compositions to date, and a good launching point for the inevitable follow-up. Though let’s hope it doesn’t take too long this time.

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