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Music Review

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The End of All Things


Artist: Crown
Label: Pelagic Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 16 April 2021

Pelagic Records releases The End Of All Things, by Industrial/Dark Metal band Crown. David Husser and Stephane Azam have taken this album in a new direction, creating a balance of genres and atmospheres; in particular coming away from the normal screamed vocals and instead employing Stephane’s soothing low-range. The release also includes the much sought vocal prowess of Karin Park from Årabrot on the closing track. Stephane Azam is not only the founding member of Crown, and the singer, but has also worked as a live producer for a number of years. David Husser has worked as a sound engineer, producer and musician with the likes of Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio, and Nick Cave...

We ‘kick-off’ with 'Violence', which has a science fiction-like opening followed by an electronic drumbeat and a moderate-paced atmospheric song with clean vocals. This is very much Goth Rock/Metal. It borrows somewhat from Lacuna Coil, but with touches of Doom and Industrial genres. A very strong start. 'Neverland' incorporates acoustic drums (thank goodness) with an off-beat. Fuzz enters the fray in the chorus instrumental, with reverb-heavy keyboards making up much of the song’s substance. Emotional, intense and yet soaring. 'Shades' is more of an upbeat tune that begins like ZZ Top’s 'Legs' single, but is changed by the fluttering and clattering sounds – and in particular the Electronica-tinged screamed vocals. Dark and energetic, with just enough melody to make it exciting without breaking away from its genre grounding. Easily the outstanding track so far.

'Illumination' retains the fuzz whilst returning to the Goth and Industrial hybrid aspect. I love how the instruments are doused in Electronica, which is heavy and brooding within the moderate-paced format. I’m enjoying this outing very much. It’s a pleasant surprise. There is a low and basic melody on 'Nails' that is visited by surrounding noises and a voiceover recording describing possession. This one is somewhat mystical with a bass backing. The myriad sounds create a weird and surreal world in the mind of the listener. Voice dubs and hits of screams further create a backdrop of otherworldliness. 'Gallow' has another motoring Electronica start, as in 'Shades'. However, a riff melody hooks you in immediately. The vocals are clean but dubbed to sound like the singer is vocalising with himself. An energising track which uses the riff to create a plethora or sounds and noises. There is real effort on this album to create original music. It works so well.

'Extinction' has a fuzzy clattering  main backing which reminds me of ZZ Top’s Afterburner album without ever sounding like them. The fast-paced backdrop mixes excellently with the moderate pace of the clean, sorrowful vocals. The music has the strange contradicting effect of both relaxing and invigorating you. A smooth combination. 'Fleuves' is a diversion into acoustic guitar territory with meaningful slow vocals. The Electronica enters the arena, making the whole a dreamlike experience. There is a build-up of weird noises which is effective without intruding on the beautifully simple vocal structure.

In 'Firebearer', a dancelike confusion of Electronica and drums come together as music which has the effect of minutely changing the straight vocal aspect. There are backing vocals inherent in this too, and screams at the chorus points which then join the clean tones.

What I like about this collection of songs is that something subtly different is instigated with each track. There is a lot going on in these songs which perhaps only having a producer and engineer in the band can handle with ease. It feels full, rich and earthy.

We conclude the proceedings with 'Utopia'. Electric piano and synthesisers back the entry of Karin Park from the band Årabrot. After getting used to Stephane’s brooding but brilliant vocals, it’s quite a jolt to end with a completely alternative singing style. Is it me, or is she singing with a strange accent? Karin has a good voice but, frankly, they didn’t need her to lift this album, which I’ve enjoyed very much. This album has been a pleasure from start to finish.


Ty Power