Svart Crown have been around for a few years now and have slowly but surely been making their mark on the French death metal scene. Their previous album, Abreaction, performed well both in terms of critical reception and fan reception. Now, with a reworked lineup and fresh new inspiration from JB’s recent trip to see the “Gate to Hell” painting, the quartet are poised to release this their fifth album.
A short vocal sample opens proceedings before the traditional dissonant melodies and driving drum patterns signify the impending chaos that awaits. The chaos then comes forth with following track “Thermageddon” being a prime example of modern death metal at its finest. Drummer Ranko performs exceptionally intricate patterns which almost rival those of Gojira’s drummer Mario Duplantier. And, similar to Gojira, the band is not afraid to mix things up and slow the pace down instead of being at breakneck speeds all the time. This remains true across the album with tracks such as “Blessed Be The Fools” and “Exoria” being prime examples of this.
“Down To Nowhere” takes things in a completely different vein however. If anything, it has a somewhat similar feel to “Low Lands” by Gojira in that it features semi-haunting clean vocals and ‘harsh’ vocals over a changing pallet of music. The pallet goes from clean guitars and slower drum beats to distorted guitars and medium speed drums, all whilst retaining an anger and sorrowful atmosphere. It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album for venturing outside the box and shows that the band are not just a one trick pony.
Admittedly, there have been a lot of references to Gojira in this review and whilst that may be seen by some as a bad thing, it is anything but that. The formula which Gojira have created is one which many bands may be tempted to copy or end up inadvertently sounding like them. Svart Crown, on the other hand, have refined that formula and have created something which, whilst similar in parts, is largely different and pretty damn awesome.
If one were to sum up Wolves Among The Ashes in a phrase, “Death metal Gojira on steroids” would probably fit this just right.
Wolves Among The Ashes is out on February 7th. Order on Amazon to support this site!