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Night Crowned – Impius Viam Award winner

Night Crowned
Impius Viam
by "Der Bärtige Mann" Gareth Beams at 19 March 2020, 5:40 PM

From the frozen part of Europe’s northernmost realm, a new slithering seed is festering at the heart of the Swedish scene — known as NIGHT CROWNED. A spawn formed from an unholy communion between the current and the previous members of the underground elite such as DARK FUNERAL, NIGHTRAGE and CIPHER SYSTEM, this infestation is set to grow from a rumored disease into a full-scale pandemic. The band’s musical vision is as clear as it is haunting and putrid; a reawakening of the sounds dormant from the most influential acts and masterpieces of the Scandinavian ‘90s, despite having advantages of a cutting edge, surgically precise production. Despite hatching a combined catalogue of over fifteen full-length albums, the seasoned and battle-hardened veterans of NIGHT CROWNED are still hungry like a gluttonous monster to procreate the dire melody charged blackened death music. There will be no warning. No antidote and no remedy. At first you will feel nauseous, then your body will be covered in black boils, and finally both your mind and matter will have been thoroughly infected by the blight that is - NIGHT CROWNED.

Reborn” kicks in from the intro left by “Impius Viam”, the vocals join here and are aggressive from the beginning. The melodies buildup well, keeping the balance solid.  The pace is set to max and they are seriously going through the gears to reach the max. The vocals are coarse, but easy enough to follow and understand. They have chosen a trick that many Melo Death Bands do, go nuts, bring things to an almost stand still, then go back into the fury. It’s a good trick, pulled off well here. An all-round solid start to the album, excluding the buildup from the intro of course.

Nocturnal Pulse” keeps the pace up from how it has been laid down already, not holding anything back here at all. A few cleaner cuts here than before, like KALMAH used to do, it builds up the tempo really well and also makes it enjoyable to listen along to. They slow things down again mid song to bring in a keyboard selection, it adds depth along with the softer-spoken words. It is brilliant how they are controlling the song, and the album in general. The changes they add may be simple, but are executed to perfection.

Ira” slows things right down, was not expecting this. Vocals kick in with the aggression and power we have heard before, the melodies pick the pace up, but mid-gear, not the levels we have heard so far. The control and balance never falter, even if some of the intensity has been lost. The power taking the melodies into a battle between themselves is a stroke of genius, it looses the safety belt and goes into more experimental phases, but does so perfectly.

Your Ending, Your Demise” keeps with the pace of “Ira”, but brings back more of the raw aggression on the vocals, again its only a small change but it makes a huge difference. The song does not have as many changes, even though it slows things down, which is a repeated trick, but they kick it up a gear, so you do not care. The power is electrifying. There are elements of Black Metal, Death Metal and Melo Death thrown in and blended together to create a brilliant harmony.

Your Sacrilegious Flesh” starts off with a few samples as an intro, something new. It still has the same intensity that we have now grown to enjoy in the album, it has many styles we have heard so far, but at the moment none feel stale, they still have that buzz and excitement about them.

Black Bone Cross” slows things right done to an almost acoustic setting. The melodies don’t take long to build up, this makes the intro mean more because they play off it. The melodies tick over so well and the harmonies appear so fluid and smooth. The build up is always in the background, even if it does not appear to do as much as in other songs. The song slows down, but never fades out, they somehow get even more technical with the melodies, it is a beautiful song.

Unholy Path” keeps the pace going, they have become so much stronger within themselves through this album. The melodies build up well and keep ticking over well. The song just keeps the feel of the album going, it may not be the first song to sound like it, but take nothing away from a perfect methodology.

All Life Ends” starts off slowly, but we know it will build up and explode. The melodies building up slowly, but you can tell they are picking up. It is a bit slower then other songs, but it allows you to notice the more technical melodies strung together. They pace does pick up to what we are used to more with similarities that we have heard so far, but the excitement is still yet to wear off.

Beneath No One” keeps the pace up, nothing new to state, but the melodies play well enough into each other that you can’t really fault it. They kick the gears into overdrive, adding new style changes to make sure the sound is still fresh, they have the intensity to take them through a lot more songs without losing their edge.

No Room for Hope” Has so much more technical play going into it that you cant help but admire the sound. It is fluid and well-balanced. The intensity from the vocals add to the melodies being built make it another masterful song. Just sit back and take it all in to how brilliant a change of style can be, and what a difference it can make.

Ego Sum Bestia” closes out the album slower, but in style. The song blends a mix of pace and styles that we have heard, but it sounds fresh at the same time. The control to do this is unreal. The finish is solid, it does not fade out, which we have heard so many albums do, it comes to an end with a keyboard melody, which is a nice touch, Great ending.

This a modern-era Melo Death Classic. The more you listen to it, the more you respect exactly how they have done the album. The tracks are unskippable. 10/10 does not do this album enough credit.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Impius Viam (Instrumental)
2. Reborn
3. Nocturnal Pulse
4. Ira
5. Your Ending, Your Demise
6. Your Sacrilegious Flesh
7. Black Bone Cross
8. Unholy Path
9. All Life Ends
10. Beneath No One
11. No Room for Hope
12. Ego Sum Bestia
Ken Romlin – Lead Vocals
Johan Eskilsson – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Henric Liljesand – Bass Guitar & Guitars
Janne Jaloma – Drums
Record Label: Noble Demon


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Edited 04 December 2022

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