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The Crown - Royal Destroyer Award winner

The Crown
Royal Destroyer
by Chris Hawkins at 05 March 2021, 6:32 AM

It seems like just yesterday wen I was reviewing “Hell is Here,” the debut from THE CROWN.  This was a band that made an immediate and lasting impression upon me.  Here was a band in ’98 that injected equal amounts of the most brutal elements of MORBID ANGEL, VENOM, and classic Thrash.  Just the right amount of Black Metal influence was sprinkled over the top to aid in compelling more widespread attention.  Fast forward two years later and “Deathrace King” was released to propel them to the next century with more mature songwriting as well as more sharpened acuity for their respective instruments.

In no way am I exaggerating when I say “Deathrace King” was an absolute classic, one of the best Metal albums ever.  Over the years, the bad have persevered through the ups and downs of a constantly evolving scene and now stand ready to release this new album, their eleventh total, titled “Royal Destroyer”.  Releasing an album as prolific as “Deathrace King” so early in their career obviously created a most challenging precedent to live up to. “Royal Destroyer” proves to be a worthy addition to the band’s catalog, an album to justly stand alongside the band’s very best work.

“Baptized in Violence,” the first track, is a blitzkrieg on the sense.  Brutal from start to finish, this first track is a mere one minute and nineteen seconds long.  Despite its brevity (which sometimes can be so very underrated), is mission was a success by virtue of its jolting effect.  For a point of reference, I could not help but think of what IMPALED NAZARINE would sound like playing Grindcore.

The second track, “Let the Hammering Begin,” is more in traditional territory for the band.  That however makes it no less brutal.  Providing a visceral experience similar to assaulting the beaches at Normandy, it would be remiss for me to fail to mention the riff at the 2:51 mark – they don’t make riffs like this anymore.  This second track is like a crash course in all things THE CROWN: the blending of melody with cutthroat intensity, pummeling riffs, and the uncanny ability to make a truly genre-defining statement.

From start to finish of the third track, “Motordeath,” the band bridges the gap between classic Thrash and Death Metal.  THE CROWN, simply put, create songs for their own enjoyment; therefore, the fans are sharing in that excitement derived from their stunning creations.  The melodies toward the end of the song hit on traditional Metal vibes before the band jumps back into familiar blackened Death ‘n Roll territory.

Ultra Faust,” the fourth track, has a vibe akin to “Where the Slime Live,” from MORBID ANGEL’s seminal album, “Domination” with its steady navigation through swampy territory.  It is not long, though, before the band return to their frantic comfort zone.  The breakdown toward the middle is nothing less than earth shattering adding a judicious use of dynamics go the album as a whole.

The eighth track, “Devoid of Light,” serves as a fitting blueprint or analyzing the production.  The first riff is a blatantly crunchy chug-fest with a rallying groove.  The guitars are at the perfect volume and the tone is spot-on for the material.  The drums have always served as a unique identifying aspect of the band as is certainly the case here.  There is a bit more of a controlled-chaos approach when compared to earlier albums which illustrates the old maxim that sometimes it is what you don’t play that allows you to stand out.  One difference between this record and those of the past is a more nuanced role for the bass in the sound.  The record proves the fat that the bass and guitar do not have to fear being buried by the other when the appropriate frequencies are allotted to each.  Overall, this is an album with a huge sound worthy of the band’s storied legacy.

One has to admire the dedication exhibited by THE CROWN.  Never in their career have they fit neatly into the current paradigm.  Instead, the band collectively respond with an erect middle finger pointed to any who would try to box them in.  Twenty-three years after their debut, the band’s apocalyptic, Satan-approved agenda is as fresh, compelling, and spite-filled as ever.

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


 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:

1. Baptized by Violence
2. Let the Hammering Begin
3. Motordeath
4. Ultra Faust
5. Glorious Hades
6. Full Metal Justice
7. Scandinavian Satan
8. Devoid of Light
9. We Drift On
10. Beyond the Frail


Lineup:
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass
Marko Tervonen – Guitars
Johan Lindstrand - Vocals
Robin Sörqvist - Guitars
Henrik Axelsson - Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 15 April 2021
 

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