C.R.O.W.N – Natron (Candelight)

Genre: Post Metal/Industrial

Compared with Psychurgy, C.R.O.W.N’s 2013 debut, Natron is, in parts, a rather drab, dull affair, lacking the titanic, Godflesh-like industrialism that thrust its predecessor into the spotlight. Tracks like Apnea and Tension of Duality, though boasting plenty of weight, just don’t match up to the Frenchmen’s earlier work.

But, where C.R.O.W.N’s more melodic leanings reveal themselves, Natron can be absolutely spectacular – no more so than the majestic closer, Flames, where a simple piano motif underlines a dark, slow burning song which ends in the kind of thrilling climax Mogwai would be proud of.

Fossils, too, shows a very different side to the trio, more like a hard-edged indie rock song than anything from the extreme metal world, and Wings Beating Over Heaven boats the melodic sensibilities of fellow Frenchman Neige (of Alcest fame) among the blastbeats.

C.R.O.W.N have made a brave move with Natron, broadening their horizons and demonstrating that they could be a force to be reckoned with. A few more tracks like Flames, and this could have been a classic. Richard Holmes

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Natron And On