I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is Crown, those two guys from France who know how to make some seriously heavy and melancholy music, are at it again. The bad news? It’s only two songs on a split EP with a band called STValley.
The Crown portion of the split EP, to be honest, is just ok. The two tracks “Beyond The Black Aura” and “Yperite” lean heavily towards the noise sludge side of things. The tracks don’t quite have the same hypnotic rhythm, intensity and musical doom that can be found on Crown’s excellent album “The One“. The two tracks aren’t terrible, but they’re buried a tad bit too far in the murky sludge compared to their other efforts if you ask me.
Sharing sound space with the Crown tracks are two tracks from STValley. STValley is a one man show ran by Crown’s lead singer. He’s kind of doing the Steve Von Til (Neurosis) solo thing. The two STValley tracks are slow, melancholy tracks dominated by just a man and a guitar. Both tracks “To Keep You Safe” and “Sacrosanct” are quite excellent. They’re filled with haunting, moody vocals mixed with simple guitar rhythms. On “Sacrosanct” there is some sampling, background thumps and noise that add just the right amount of layering to the feel of the song. Just as with Steve Von Til, the simplicity and mood of the tracks is what makes them so damn good.
Overall, if you’re a fan of bands like Neurosis or Godflesh definitely pick up a copy of Crown’s “The One” (our review here) and while you’re at it get the Crown/STVAlley split as well. Both are worth owning.