Mysterious noisy black metal project Black Crow King is the bastard child of one man named Corvus. Evidently, we are not held in any sort of regard by this gent, as this is the only information known (although some internet trickery would suggest European origins based on guest musicians) and his music is as challenging as his non-persona. “To Pay the Debt of Nature” is the first release from this disgustingly noise driven act. Not as all out terrifying as peers Gnaw Their Tongues or The Axis of Perdition or the recently reviewed T.O.M.B., Black Crow King places a little (just the tiniest amount) of emphasis on creating a small sense of melody.
Album opened “I, Crow” falls on what some would call the dark ambient side of black metal. The harsh soundscape of black sludge is definitely there, but this is reminiscent at times of some of the better LLN (the Les Légions Noires – or The Black Legions – movement of early 90s France) bands with its use of peculiar keyboard flourishes to fill with eerie sounds and atmospheres.
“To Pay the Debt of Nature” pulses with a distinctly malevolent and sinister beat; the curious time signature changes and odd structures are unsettling and the decay from within is tangibly bitter. “Vengeance” is laden with ear-splitting feedback and deep rumbling bass which jars with a hollow and echoing vocal performance before giving way to “Grotesque Existence” and it’s bizarre and dissonant resonance.
Black Crow King pushes “Crowbait” into an almost industrial territory with a slick drum beat that manifests itself over strange synth line that again recalls the LLN group of bands. It’s a style that is difficult to pin down and hasn’t been active for a number of years, but “To Pay the Debt of Nature” is certainly the closest we’ll get to that extraordinary period of creativity. Closing on the ominous “Excarnation Ritual,” Black Crow King finishes this debut in a suitably uneasy fashion.
All horrendous feedback and sludgy doom clashes the track ebbs with the foul stink of festering rot. The most difficult track of the record closes the mammoth one hour run time with a glorious din and delicious clamour. This kind of music is unquestionably not for everyone, but if black ambient noise is to your liking, Black Crow King is a worthwhile listen.