The Crown

Deathrace King

The Crown - Deathrace King ©2000 Metal Blade
1. Deathexplosion
2. Executioner: Slayer Of The Light
3. Back From The Grave
4. Devil Gate Ride
5. Vengeance
6. Rebel Angel
7. I Won't Follow
8. Blitzkrieg Witchcraft
9. Dead Man's Song
10. Total Satan
11. Killing Star (Superbia Luxuria XXX)

Few album titles could be more fitting for a band's music than The Crown's Deathrace King, which is quite figuratively a heavy metal sprint from the start to the checkered flag. Opening with the crisp, catchy "Deathexplosion", the album rides like a Formula One automobile, or perhaps more like a racer in Carmageddon or the Twisted Metal series - fast (but not blast beat fast), frenetic, unrelenting, and unapologetically devastating.

Resembling Slayer's Reign in Blood or Entombed's newer works in its visceral energy, The Crown won't satiate your hunger with anything fancy; instead, what you'll find on the menu is heavy metal stripped down to its bare essentials, death n' roll for the new millennium. Even the vocalist Johan Lindstrand, who screeches in the typical black metal or Göteborg manner, brings an uncommon degree of variety and charisma to his role. The Crown's formula for success is surprisingly simple. Songs like "Executioner: Slayer of the Light" work because Lindstrand's lyrics, which are succinct and to the point, are forcibly driven into your memory, while "Back from the Grave"s machine gun attack segues nicely into a melodic intro, which then transitions smoothly into a jolting verse and heavier bridge before climaxing with a rising, helicopter-like chorus. A few Suffocation-style syncopations can also be heard here. Opening with a solitary bass guitar, "Devil Gate Ride" is one of the crunchier, more brutal songs on the album. This track and the slower "Vengeance" serve as a pit stop of sorts before the album gets a second wind and resumes its prior intensity with the excellent "I Won't Follow" and "Blitzkrieg Witchcraft", the latter of which features a long, melodic guitar solo. Avoid this album if you are asthmatic, Deathrace King will leave you with very few opportunities to catch your breath. The songwriting through-and-through is meticulously crafted and very well written, although the album does lag a bit in the middle. Deathrace King could easily have been dogged by patchy riffs and misplaced bridges, but avoids doing so, thus largely preserving the album's sense of movement and progression, an element that is fundamental to The Crown's musical objective.

This album warrants your attention, if only for its sheer immediacy and vitality. CDs like this tend to sour as time passes, so I can't predict how much playing time this album will receive from me in the months to come. But in the meantime, all I can say is Deathrace King kicks my ass, and will most likely kick yours too. Race on.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 05/2000

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Crowned In Terror

The Crown - Crowned In Terror ©2002 Metal Blade
1. Introduction - House Of Hades
2. Crowned In Terror
3. Under The Whip
4. Drugged Unholy
5. World Below
6. The Speed Of Darkness
7. Out For Blood
8. (I Am) Hell
9. Death Is The Hunter
10. Satanist
11. Death Metal Holocaust

After vocalist Johan Lindstrand left The Crown following Deathrace King, the band upped the ante by recruiting former At the Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg. In other words, the band didn't miss a beat and garnered a little extra press coverage for themselves. Not a bad move!

Crowned in Terror, their debut with Lindberg at the microphone, is a rather intense slab of heavy death-thrash that'll wallop any listener right over the head. There are hints of their native Swedish death metal sound, but you can also hear tinges of 80s thrash as well as classic metal overtures throughout. However, the intensity of the album is what is most notable. And unlike their zero dimensional counterparts in the scene, The Crown actually pulls off a dynamic album without pulling any punches. Although drummer Janne Saarenpää loves his rolls, fills and blastbeats, his frantic energy never overshadows the music nor does the band forsake all sense of songwriting for the thrill of sheer impact. Song structuring actually allows for impressive solos and sharp leads. The album is also sequenced so that you can tell when tracks are changing. Many bands flouder in showing exactly one musical idea and then repeating it ten times for the remainder of the album. The Crown seems to have transcended this disease of their peers. Crown in Terror is often a blitz of powerful death-thrash, but never to the point of sheer mindlessness. Lindberg's vocals sound as primal and vicious as ever, sounding a bit like Kreator's Mille on three different forms of competing amphetimines.

Crowned in Terror is definitely recommended towards those tough guys out there who feel Soilwork is too feathery and fluffy, but still don't want to wallow in the mire of generic melodic death metal bands. If this CD can please a grumpy curmudgeon like myself, just imagine how it'll fire up the long-haired, leather-clad masses.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2003

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