Before we get into the complaints about Abreaction, the latest from Svart Crown, let’s discuss the few things this French blackened death outfit gets right:
-Pacing: Abreaction follows a rather remarkable series of peaks and valleys, sometimes falling into the standard slow/fast pattern but more often delving into the realm of the buildup. Svart Crown has a knack for pushing these builds juuuust to the brink of monotony before introducing a drum fill that pays the kind of dividends that give Wall Street a collective heart attack of joy.
-Rhythm section: Speaking of drum fills, sticksman Kevin Paradis turns in one of the most creative perfomances of the year so far. Early Brann Dailor comes to mind as the snare isn’t always locked in third-count upbeat and yet still manages to keep the time. On the low end, Ludovic Veyssiere keeps these beats firmly glued to the six-stringers in what is certainly more than competent fashion. A true bass performance, its role is coheshion as opposed to flash.
-Riffs: Abreaction has MILLIONS of ’em. From the atonal, technical bombardment of “Upon This Infinite Madness” to the more subdued yet no less effective opening strums of “Golden Sacrament,” Svart Crown wisely chooses not to pigeonhole their sound into any one of the specific genres they pull from. These are some of the more inventive leads these ears have come across, which won’t come as any sort of surprise to those familiar with the band’s extended catalog.
-Vocals: They rule here. JB Le Bail sounds particularly hollow, and not from a passionate delivery standpoint– ‘hollow’ in the sense that these sound like they were recorded in a separate room with a hole in the wall pointed towards the microphone. Not only are they very strong, but there’s a slight echo quality attached to them. It’s brilliant and somewhat unearthly.
And now for the laundry list of negatives:
A couple of the songs run a hair longer than necessary.
Also, I thought the band would have cooler hair than they do.