Svart Crown: Profane

Gruelling, atmospheric darkness from French fanatics

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There’s a tangible aura that surrounds the contemporary extreme metal scene in France, a gritty foreboding that makes its offerings more potent despite their apparent inaccessibility. Blurring the lines between black and death metal in a not entirely dissimilar manner to countrymen such as Arkhon Infaustus or Antaeus, Svart Crown have been doing the rounds for some years now, Profane marking their third release.

A foreboding and apocalyptic entry in the band’s discography, it harnesses a sense of unbridled aggression with a precise percussive assault and razor-sharp riffing, bombarding the listener with a punishing yet dynamic sound. Despite its carefully controlled approach, there is an organic touch to the production and the sound is further balanced by slower passages within the songs, drawing nicely upon the end-is-nigh vibe of their more monochromatic contemporaries.

The suitably-possessed vocals of JB Le Bail add an all-important touch of fanaticism, but it is the drama within the compositions that is the album’s, erm, crowning glory, the tracks bearing an ebb and flow that stops them from ever becoming stale.