The Crown - _Crowned in Terror_
(Metal Blade, 2002)
by: David Rocher (
Throatmangler supreme Johan Lindstrand's departure from The Crown anno 2001 was tragic news indeed -- no less tragic in fact to me as the announcement of At The Gates' demise consecutive to the release of their milestone _Slaughter of the Soul_ --, but the revelation that followed stating that ex-At The Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg would be stepping in to endorse vocal duties for Sweden's ultimate death 'n' roll act was somewhat more reassuring. _Crowned in Terror_ was hence etched to be a milestone in The Crown's career; not only was it their first release ever without Lindstrand (strikingly, the only minor line-up change The Crown had ever undergone occurred consecutively to the release of their 1993 demo, _Forever Heaven Gone_), it was also assigned the uncomfortable task of providing a worthy heir to its insane predecessor, _Deathrace King_ [CoC #49]. And unsurprisingly enough, these claims are now greeted with total success -- The Crown have retaliated against all worries and doubts concerning their future with an incredible, seething and steroid-boosted death 'n' roll recording, a savage brute thriving on roaring metallic onslaughts, blasting rhythmic poundings and mind-boggling technicality and velocity. A little more intricate and less "all-out metal carnage" in style than the very raw and adrenaline-oozing _Deathrace King_, _Crowned in Terror_ delivers the goods beyond all expectations, in pure The Crown tradition; from the always inspired melodies and catchy rock 'n' roll hymns crafted by Magnus Osfelt and Marko Tervonen to the inconceivable drumming antics provided by drumgod Janne Saarenpaa, the ten tracks (plus introduction) featured on _Crowned in Terror_ only release their crushing grasp on your throat when their composers deem it worthy, as on the super-heavy mid-tempo anthem "World Below". In fact, much as I predicted and feared, the only shadow on this recording are Tompa Lindberg's vocals -- much as his work on At the Gates' releases was beyond words and any form criticism, his screamed and rabid intonations fail to wholly mesh in with the grim and thrilling musical canvas painted by his fellow band members; and this oh-so-disappointing sentiment is only reinforced by Johan Lindstrand's glorious performance on the closing number "Death Metal Holocaust". Metal Blade having however recently disclosed the news that Tomas Lindberg and The Crown have parted ways due to the timeless "personal differences", I can only conclude the review of this flawed, but nonetheless absolutely brilliant by a heartfelt plea: Johan, come back -- Death Metal can't do without you! [Pedro Azevedo: "Had this entire disc been as good as the first couple of tracks following its mediocre intro -- "Crowned in Terror" and "Under the Whip", and The Crown's first output with legendary screamer Tomas Lindberg would truly have been a death metal classic. This is not to say the rest of the album is weak; but only on a couple other tracks does it ever get close to its initial quality again. As usual, I tend to enjoy Marko Tervonen's songs more than Magnus Osfelt's, even though the mixing of guitarist Tervonen's and bassist Osfelt's slightly contrasting songwriting styles continues to work well for the band. Still, although in their last couple of albums Osfelt had also been doing very well indeed, this time it's his part of the album that tended to let me down slightly. Nevertheless, this is yet another potent release from a superb band whose debut and last three discs are all ranked high among my death metal favourites."]
(article published 3/7/2002)
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