'ABREACTION': A POWERFUL AND THOUGHT PROVOKING FOURTH ALBUM FROM SVART CROWN 5th March 2017
Never failing to surprise or impress with all three of their previous releases, French Black/Death Metal merchants Svart Crown have once again blown me away with their latest full length, 'Abreaction', which means "the release of unconscious psychological tension by talking about or reliving the events that caused it".
Their previous album, 'Profane', gave "a full introspection on the sickness of humanity, delivering the soundtrack of a bleak world that has already ended", from Svart Crown's perspective. It was dark, bleak and brutal.
This time there is that same intensity and brutality but with a more adventurous approach, with lyrical inspiration coming from a broad range of sources. The technically insane 'Upon This Intimate Madness' is inspired by the French movie 'Mon Roi', a passionate love story that turns into an absolute disaster, where one of the main characters is a totally devilish and narcissistic manipulator, but the album's dominant vibe focuses on tribal aspects of African/Voodoo ritual, an element that is very noticeable on 'Orgasmic Spiritual Ecstasy' as well as reflecting in the drum work across the release.
Some tracks, such as 'Golden Sacrament', 'The Pact: To The Devil His Due' take on, in part, a heavy doom-like quality and there is even more of a groove element this time around which makes the album flow so well, there are also tracks such as 'Carcosa' which on the whole has a much more manic pace to the delivery, showing the angry fire is still there, but still holding slower elements of the heavy rich and crushing atmosphere that dominates the album.
JB Le Bail's vocals are superb as always, broad ranging, from a whisper to a roar, with a delivery that is powerful, brutal and at times tortuous.
Four years on from 'Profane' there are noticeable advancements in the Svart Crown sound across 'Abreaction'. It's still as brutal, but there's a filtering and a focus making it feel heavier yet also making it more approachable. It's less convoluted, more sophisticated with some impressively executed complex technical aspects as well as being hugely atmospheric, all this coming partly from the band's growth in experience and maturity and partly from a very dynamic line-up change, the departure of drummer Nico Muller and guitarist Clément Flandrois, replaced by Kévin Paradis and guitarist Kevin Verlay respectively, both from French Death/Thrashers Agressor.
This is a change that sounds like it works very well as they certainly add a freshness to the mix. The production for 'Abreaction' was once again handled by producer and audio engineer Francis Caste who always manages to bring the best out of the Svart Crown sound and the artwork was again created by artist Stefan Thanneur, who was behind Profane's disturbing and controversial cover art and while the 'Abreaction' artwork is less obvious in it's disturbing nature, it is instead, subtly and sophisticatedly fiendish, giving the first suggestion of the tribal/Voodoo/African aspects that feature within and a visual suggestion of the primal, abrasive and surreptitiously evil content.
1. Golden Sacrament
3. The Pact: To The Devil His Due
4. Upon This Intimate Madness
5. Khimba Rites
7. Orgasmic Spiritual Ecstasy
9. Emphatic Illusion
'Abreaction' is a superbly powerful and thought provoking listen and is out now on Century Media Records.