C.R.O.W.N are a four piece band from France where one of those pieces is a drum machine. Now, I know people sometimes frown on the use of a drum machine but C.R.O.W.N use it probably better than anyone, at least since Godflesh. And that’s a fair comparison to make. For me, C.R.O.W.N are like merging Godflesh with Triptykon or Celtic Frost with the musical sensibility of VAST. A interesting combination for sure.
C.R.O.W.N are about the riffs and let me tell you, the riffs on Natron are heavy, catchy and basically incredible. The opening track “Serpents” is the perfect example. Brutally heavy and slow with a titanic riff and a scream that fits that riff perfectly. C.R.O.W.N often quiet things during the verses of the song, as they do in “Serpents,” which just make the main riff even heavier sounding!
The drum machine gives them an even heavier bottom end on all three opening tracks but also creates a futuristic vibe during those aforementioned quieter sections of each track. “Fossils” is the change of pace track that I am guessing most people won’t expect. This is where C.R.O.W.N sound like a mix of VAST and even Steven Wilson at his “poppiest.” In a kinder world, “Fossils” would get radio play on rock radio. It’s a very catchy and amazing track that shows the depth that C.R.O.W.N possess.
“Apnea” kicks things back into heavy, shitkicking mode, but the jewel of “Natron” comes right after it. “Tension of Duality” has the best riff I have ever heard. Yes, I said it. It is the perfect heavy metal riff. It is slow and literally forces listeners to stomp their feet and/or bang their heads. It features a sample of the spoken word performance “Dinosaurs” by the late, great William S. Burroughs and fits the song PERFECTLY. Following that, the main riff actually gets HEAVIER and even more incredible. If you weren’t banging your head or stomping your feet before, it is impossible (I mean it) not to do so now. My initial reaction to it was indeed, “Holy fucking shit!”
Now you might ask, “how is this prog?” I could just say, “Who cares? It’s amazing!” While that is indeed accurate, I would also say that this is incredibly forward thinking music with diversity, texture and intelligence. C.R.O.W.N have released an album in “Natron” that has a heaviness and bleakness that bands like Godflesh, NIN or ISIS were always striving for. “Natron” exceeded any sort of expectations I may have had. It also shows that a drum machine can be used in such a creative way that a real drummer just wouldn’t fit into. “Natron” is the soundtrack of the impending apocalypse. Do not miss out on it.
2. The Words You Speak Are Not Your Own
3. Wings Beating Over Heaven
6. Tension Of Duality
Label: Candlelight Records