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Crowne – Kings in the North

Crowne
Kings in the North
by Leanne Evans at 14 September 2021, 10:45 AM

Frontiers Music brings us another melodic hard rock group in the form of Swedish rockers CROWNE. Quite the powerhouse of seasoned musicians, CROWNE features the vocals of Alexander Strandell (ART NATION), the riffs and tinkering of Jona Tee (H.E.A.T) on guitars and keys, some boisterous bass work from none other than John Levan of EUROPE and driving that rocking rhythm is Christian Lundvist of THE POODLES on drums. There’s high expectations with the abundant talent in this heavyweight super group, so let’s see how the guys fare in their debut LP, “Kings in the North”.

Title-track “Kings in the North” opens this fine treasure chest of majesty, powering in with a melodic, yet muscular, riff and rich, harmonious hard-rocking vocals. This bold and bulky opener doesn’t disappoint, paving the way perfectly for the upbeat “Perceval”, hook-driven with soaring vocals and foot-tapping tempo, it’s a catchy slice of deliciousness indeed. Thus far, the hard rock formula of CROWNE doesn’t disappoint and the thunderous “Sharoline” drives with an enjoyable AOR feel that’s hard-hitting, yet has a pleasing corniness to it, a “guilty pleasure” vibe if you will, and frankly, a track that is impossible not to squeal the chorus to!

“Unbreakable” carries the burning torch of passion further, offering a substantially more saccharine stance, the chorus becoming a little sickly at times, but still enjoyable nonetheless for something light-hearted and easy listening. CROWNE then take the LP back to the headiness of hard rock flavours and keep the melodies a-coming with “Mad World”. Drums pulsating, tasty guitar solos and roaring moments bring you back around to enjoying something on the stomping side of the sonic scale. At the halfway mark, “One in a Million” is a schmaltzy slice from the AOR spectrum, although more honeyed than treacly, and still with plenty of beat and opportunity to bound about. The intensity of “Sum of All Fears” is all-consuming, tight and precise with well thought keys, a swell of temporal changes and impassioned vocals, whilst “Set Me Free” is a beauteous ballad, all passional electric energy and reverts to the H.E.A.T-esque sounds.

The last section of “Kings in the North” brings mid-tempo hard rocking once more in the form of punchy “Make a Stand”, with the bite of “Cross to Bear” following suit, with the LP bookended by the soothing sounds of introspective piece “Save Me from Myself”. There’s enough flaming solos to savour in each of these glorious tracks to keep your soul ignited for eternity. Whilst the tracks are relatively similar in structure, and sometimes verge on the predictable, CROWNE executes each cut with finesse and precision, which coupled with slick production, makes for quite the beast of an album. There’s enough hooks to keep a net of fishermen happy for weeks on end, and a glut of enormous melodies to satisfy rockers and metalheads inclined to the more power-infused end of the scale.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Kings in the North
2. Perceval
3. Sharoline
4. Unbreakable
5. Mad World
6. One in a Million
7. Sum of All Fears
8. Set Me Free
9. Make a Stand
10. Cross to Bear
11. Save Me from Myself
Lineup:
Alexander Strandell – Vocals
Jona Tee – Guitars and Keys
John Leven – Bass
Christian Lundqvist - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music
     


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