Svart Crown @ The Black Heart, London

28th February 2014, Review by Lily Randall


As you exit the Camden tube station, the popular venue parallel is swarming with colourful mohawks, studded leathers and street beers galore thanks to a Discharge gig going on at The Underworld. However, hidden down the back alleys is The Black Heart, which is aptly filling with blackened figures for an intimate gig of darkness upstairs.

Mørktår have been busy supporting several black metal bands recently and tonight is no different. The local four-piece may have started out in 2006 as a solo project but with a revised line up since last year, it appears to be a formula that works for injecting their misery-laden black metal live. New frontman Repktkor is fueled with hatred as he rasps over raw guitars and an aura of impending darkness. The tracks feel repetitive at times but the band certainly creates an atmosphere to prepare for the rest of the evening.

The mood is lifted when Gloucestershire based Ascaris take to the stage. The band may only consist of three members but between them the sound is monolithic, with an incredibly pristine style of blackened death that still boasts with brutality.  From start to finish the guitar and bass are plucked with fury with melodies capable of exploding brains. Sharing a large chunk of their debut EP due any minute now, the suited bruisers are a breath of fresh air for an ever growing British DM scene.

With five rather intimidating looking musicians trying to squeeze onto the small Black Heart stage, Diabolical look promising if you are hoping for an earth-crushing sound. They fail to disappoint, with the Swedish veterans thanking the fact they’re back on British soil and causing aural chaos. the three members with vocal duties manage to produce an array of growls and screams that help give further dimensions to the death metal riffs, with thrash and black metal thrown in for a good measure of heaviness. The three guitarists seem a little unnecessary but the wall of sound created is worth the lack of movement allowed on stage. With tracks from their latest album ‘Neogenesis’ following with ease into their old-school records, its a pleasure to be able to see Diabolical live here at last.

Svart Crown have been bubbling under the surface of the metal stratosphere but last year’s full length ‘Profane’ appeared to propel them into the limelight they deserve. The venue may be small but it’s great to finally see the French blackened death brigade getting a full set to themselves rather than supporting the likes of Shining or Nile. The band come out into a dark blue abyss, backs turned and ready to explode. As they turn, that is exactly what they do, with ‘Profane’ opener ‘Manifestatio Symptoms’ sounding as crushing as on record. The latest album continues to destroy throughout the majority of the set with atmospheric brutality filling the room and despite a lack of space, the four piece windmill and riff to their hearts’ content, which is contagious to say the least. Showcasing how the band have evolved, tracks from their debut including ‘Caligua’ displays a more primitive side, whilst ‘Colosseum’ drags you into a void of terror through melodic heaviness. Unlike fellow bands within the genre, Svart Crown have always prided themselves with a pristine production and the fact that they can emulate this crisp devastation live concludes why you need to witness the rise.