Friday, March 3, 2023

Räum - Cursed by the Crown (2023)

Räum is a newer French black metal act which relies heavy on the fundamental shifts created by the riffing patterns, all rather simple and traditional to the genre, but digging into those windy, primordial and melancholic aesthetics and then tearing your face in with them. In many ways, this is one of the more straightforward examples of its style that I've come across lately, but that's not to sell it short...this is not some juvenile attempt at Black Metal 101, but a calculated, harrowing journey into an emotional void which is never too raw, but also not anywhere near overproduced or polished. You still get a little noise and feedback off the sizzling guitars, the rasps are highly atmospheric and bounce around in the middle and upper ends of the environment, and they also will implement some cleaner guitar tones in and about the distortion which make it a more saddening yet lofty experience.

This is also one of those albums with only a handful (minus a thumb) of tracks, ranging from around 7 to 12 minutes, so they've got to pack a lot of space, and they're not doing that with a larger selection of riffs or tempo shifts. Thus there is a reliance of the listener becoming almost hypnotized by the patterns, and I wouldn't say that most of them are strong enough to captivate me to that level. Predictable in terms of where many of the chords or tremolo picked melodies are going to end up, but still rather dramatic and moving in terms of this particular niche. "Beyond the Black Shades of the Sun", the 12 minute finale, probably feels the most expansive in no small part due to its size, and also the most airy and outdoors-feeling, but even there I'm not sure its 'twists' entirely succeed at pulling its weight. That said, Cursed by the Crown isn't bad by any means, it might prove competent enough to offer you a depressingly majestic escape, I just have to be in the mood for this very specific style, and even then I don't know that it would be the first I turn to.

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]

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