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Svart Crown - "Witnessing The Fall" (CD)

Svart Crown - "Witnessing The Fall" CD cover image

"Witnessing The Fall" track listing:

1. Where the Light Ends (1:36)
2. Colosseum (2:58)
3. Dogs of God (4:11)
4. Nahash the Temptator (5:15)
5. Here Comes Your Salvation (3:37)
6. Into a Demential Sea (4:19)
7. An Eternal Descent (6:16)
8. Strength Higher Than Justice (3:52)
9. Incestuous Breath (4:55)
10. Of Sulphur and Fire (8:10)

Reviewed by on February 12, 2011

"Besides tremendous heaviness, the album also has a good deal of nuance and impressive guitar work, making it of interest to fans of nearly any extreme metal style."

Showing the world that Gojira isn’t the only French band that can be devastatingly heavy, Svart Crown has returned with a second full-length album titled “Witnessing the Fall.” Besides tremendous heaviness, the album also has a good deal of nuance and impressive guitar work, making it of interest to fans of nearly any extreme metal style.

Although the band’s very name immediately brings to mind a Norwegian black metal outfit, Svart Crown is first and foremost a death metal band. Echoes of current era Behemoth are frequently heard in the songs, especially when the band mixes melodic occult sounds with extreme brutality. There are plenty of nods to the stylistic leanings the name evokes, however, as the music is frequently infused with bouts of black metal atmosphere.

Songs like “Of Sulphur and Fire” feature bleak and empty soundscapes only interrupted by depressing guitar chords before bringing the full force of Svart Crown’s hate to bear with demonic growls and furious drums. Ethereal and moody guitar parts are regularly weaved into the mayhem to give brief breaks from the heaviest segments and give the album a somewhat mystical feel.

Even when dropping the melody, and screaming ahead at full force without a rest, Svart Crown has a musically stellar album on its hands. Whether things are headed in a melodic direction, moving slowly, rampaging at light speed, or showing off with shred-tastic guitar riffs, everything is played exceptionally well and it all works together. As the album moves on, there are some instances where the standard death metal clichés get a bit monotonous, but there’s almost always something more interesting right on the horizon.

Svart Crown has hit the right mix of style and substance with equal doses of black metal atmosphere and death metal brutality. Anyone who doesn’t usually care for black metal’s theatrics, or fans on the opposite side who don’t care for death metal’s lack of stylistic flair and melody, should check out “Witnessing the Fall” to find the best of both worlds.

Highs: All the atmosphere and occult leanings of melodic black metal with about equal doses of in-your-face death metal

Lows: Occasionally the more monotonous and repetitive aspects of death metal come to bear

Bottom line: The album smoothly blends together the brutality and heaviness of death metal with the style and atmosphere of black metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)