“Svart” is the Norwegian and Swedish word for black. Svart Crown is the name of a black/death-metal band from France. Formed in 2005 by guitarist/vocalist J.B Le Bail, the band released a debut album called Ages of Decay in early 2008. They’ve now completed their second album, which is scheduled for release by Listenable Records on November 1. It’s called Witnessing the Fall, and we took advantage of the chance to hear it before the official release.
Witnessing the Fall is, above all else, an extreme musical tribute to the wonders of the electric guitar. Le Bail and Clément Flandrois exploit that instrument for all its worth, extracting from its inert mechanical potential a wide array of energized sonic weaponry. Layering the tracks with a multitude of picking and riffing styles, they splash the musical canvass with a pastiche of swirling, dark colors and shifting images of disturbing power. Listening to what they’ve accomplished is a completely engrossing experience.
As a matter of genre classification, the album is a mixture of black- and death metal stylings — like a joint venture between Immortal and Immolation — but with black metal as the dominant partner. However, rather than persistently using cascading waves of tremolo picking and fused blast-beats to create cold atmospherics, Svart Crown more often than not rampages like an unpredictable, marauding beast. (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .)