Wednesday, April 17, 2002 @ 9:01 AM
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Sweden certainly has no shortage of great metal bands these days. One of their finest exports without question has been The Crown. After making huge waves with Deathrace King in 2000, the departure of vocalist Johan Lindstrand would seem like the worst-case scenario. But when you’re in the position that The Crown was in you have to see it as an opportunity to take your band to the next level. Enter Tomas Lindberg from the recently disbanded At The Gates. Lindberg’s aggressive style adds more of an extreme growl to the bands music. Now a bit more than your typical death metal band, The Crown have successfully become bigger than any one genre.
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The write-up that accompanies this thing says that, “The Crown have written the Swedish equivalent of Reign in Blood.” While I feel that is a comparison that should be used sparingly, I do see what they mean. Time will tell if it will one day be looked back on the way Reign in Blood is, but it does perform the same furious assault on you that the Slayer album still does to this day. When it is over, it leaves you in the dust, violated and bleeding and very capable of hearing it again.
After a haunting introduction the opening track “House of Hades” is a straightforward speed monster. Not trying for the epic opener on this one, just blasting away with all guns blazing. The guitar playing is quite independent of the rest of the band, as is the drumming. They are just doing their own thing and it somehow works here. This is followed by the title track, which has its share of blast beats, double bass, and guitar soloing used as the main riff. “Under the Whip” has some more cool soloing, right over the chorus; a blast beat in between verses, and bits of double bass throughout the song, quite normal for this album. The madness finally breaks on track 5, “World Below.” This tune has the same mid-tempo, ride symbol groove that “Post Mortem” from the aforementioned Slayer album has. The album is essentially split right down the middle with this track and suddenly goes from speed racer to fat hog. “Speed of Darkness” continues with some tight playing and plenty of time changes. More brutality is to follow with another cool breakdown in “Satanist” and some old school lyrics and speed with the album closer, “Death Metal Holocaust.”
The Crown seemed to know a lot was riding on this album, and took this heart with the every aspect. At times the album goes off in so many directions that it can easily make your head spin. All this speed and chaos is broken up nicely, however, with enough groove to keep the pit nice and violent. Excellent musicianship and great songwriting make Crowned in Terror a fantastic album. It is definite insanity and possibly a little bit of musical genius. I can’t wait to see what level these guys get to with their next effort.