C.R.O.W.N.: Natron

Industrious and indomitable French duo get with the program

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When it comes to metal, drum machines are often viewed as a fraudulence at odds with our worship of musicianship.

That’s not the case, however, with C.R.O.W.N., a French duo whose open utilisation of such austere artificiality is an overtly stylistic choice.

A cold metronome, void of feeling, it’s oppositional in its stark contrast to the devastating quantity of guitar pumped through your speakers. Serpents, featuring Alcest’s Neige, and The Words You Speak Are Not Your Own are ponderous leviathans, their voluminous battery and baying roars wrought through with dark undercurrents of melody. Wings Beating Over Heaven eschews the slow-groove for piston-precision blasting that only ups already all-consuming levels of heaviness, a breathless assault that makes Fossils, a seductive, hook-laden electro-interlude featuring the craven croon of Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures’ Khvost, an entirely necessary breather. Natron succeeds on several fronts, delivering groove and might within a forward-thinking context, a unique unification of organic rage and impassivity that tramples you and marches mechanically onward with nary a thought spared for your mangled carcass.