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The Crown - Cobra Speed Venom Award winner

The Crown
Cobra Speed Venom
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 21 May 2018, 7:33 AM

Sweden’s Death Thrash legends THE CROWN have returned with their first album since 2014’s “Death Is Not Dead,” an album that I really enjoyed but often times it did lack that furious, raw intensity I have come to expect from these crazies. I’m happy to report that “Cobra Speed Venom,” not only brings back the whiplash but it also their best since 2000’s classic “Deathrace King.” The boys don’t have a bad album under their belt but this is their most urgent mix of Death and Thrash in some time.  “Destroyed by Madness,” opens up with a surprisingly deep symphonic intro but at about thirty eight seconds in, those hammer riffs and thrilling lead lines kick in and you know THE CROWN are going for the throat. This is Robin’s second album with them and he continues to work very well mainstay axe man Mark. The two of them have a very raw and open sound that really creates a dark and gritty, grinding sounds

The buildup is slow and chilling but Henrik keeps the speed up with his double bass.  Around the 1:44 mark, the entire band kicks into high gear.  Johan has never sounded better; his growls are deeper, his screams are more insane, and his energy is at an all-time high.  Indeed, the whole band sounds rejuvenated.  Certainly bassist Magnus has pulled out all the stops with his song writing and really brought brutality to the forefront to the album’s sound. The first single, “IRON CROWN,” is pure adrenaline wrapped up in that  established THE CROWN sound where the leads are biting but still retain a hint of dark melody.  The middle of the song is thrash bliss and I can imagine in a live setting the crowd going absolutely nuts.  The guitar solo is a highlight as well.

We Avenge!” is one of the best songs the band has done in years.  The heavy riffs are pieced together with undeniable crushing groove.  The last couple of minutes of the songs are some of the best on the album.  The spoken vocals part over the riffs towards the end are the perfect prelude to the lead work and thick backing riffs.  Just when you think its all over, the band thrashes it all out again.“Rise In Blood,” is a quintessential THE CROWN song.  All the elements that make the band great are presented in under three minutes: speed drumming, meticulously yet extreme riffs/bass, and vocals that would scare small children and animals.

Where My Grave Shall Stand,” is a somber, morose instrumental that balances funeral toned melody with their signature sound.  Honestly, it is very moving in some parts and was quite the surprise to be found on this album. I think it may have worked better as an intro to the album as a whole but, hey, it is great either way. The final track, “The Sign of the Scythe,” is a seven minute long Death Thrash overture where the band pulls out all the stops and throws in everything they can.  It is pulled off extremely well and all the different parts of the song come together for one scathing ride.  Between the ominous guitar tones of the beginning, the harrowing middle part, or the all jam of the ending, this song brings THE CROWN in spades.

With “Cobra Speed Venom,”  THE CROWN have crafted a cleverly written, superbly played everlasting ode to all that is brutal, evil, and dark in Metal.  It is a statement that they are better than ever and will not thrash quietly into the night.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Destroyed by Madness
2. Iron Crown
3. In the Name of Death
4. We Avenge!
5. Cobra Speed Venom
6. World War Machine
7. Necrohammer
8. Rise in Blood
9. Where My Grave Shall Stand
10. The Sign of the Scythe
11. Nemesis Diamond (Bonus Track)
12. The Great Dying (Bonus Track)
13. Ride the Fire (Bonus Track)
Johan Lindstrand – Vocals
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass
Henrik Axelsson – Drums
Mark Tervonen – Guitar
Robin Sorqvist – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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