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Total Swedish death metal holocaust - 100%

Sigillum_Dei_Ameth, November 6th, 2009

If there was one album that truly blew me away to hell and back and still does to this day, it's The Crown's third album "Crowned In Terror". Why? Because to this day I have not heard a band with a level of energy to play this fucking fast or insanely melodic at the same time. It's the sound of a band hitting on all of their creative cylinders at top speed. It's the sound of the very ground you are standing on, cracking open and an abyss of fiery doom is awaiting a few million victims to take their place in it's unholy flames.

The Crown up until "Crowned In Terror" had sufficiently been building upon their lightning-fast brand of Swedish melodic death metal with hints of both NWOBHM and black metal's sense of melodies. It wasn't until long-time vocalist Johan Lindstrand left and was replaced by the infamous fire-spewing-mouth-of-hell Thomas "Tompa" Lindberg...and they stuck pure metal gold. I mean, the band even re-recorded such a modern-day classic and you know what? You can't replace something that magical. Whatever Thomas did, whatever the fucking band did, they will never be able to duplicate ever again. It's a fucking shame too because "Crowned In Terror" offers the listener 10 cuts of death-defying songs played at an acrobatic rate of fucking shit going everywhere. It's almost like watching a 3 ring circus and going "Ooo!" and "Aaahh!" I have this theory with my friends that Thomas gargles sulfur and eats nails and broken glass every morning to get his vocals to sound like he's a completely pissed-off demon from hell. Even the rest of the band is at top shape; Guitarists Marko Tervonen and Marcus Sunesson are playing intricate melodies that coil around riffs and leads and multi-layered solos backed by the heavy sub-bottom end of muttochop-sporting bassist Magnus Olsfelt. Last but not least is drummer Janne Saarenpää who out does himself. Does this guy have 8 arms? Because it's like he's drumming on top of drumming on top of double bass on top of tom rolls on top hypertension-inducing blast beats on top of everything besides his fucking head!

Outside of the musicians playing everything at top rate, you have a sound production which is damn near perfect. You hear every instrument perfectly. The artwork is very simplistic. Nothing too eye-catching except skulls but this is probably the first time I've listened to an album to where an album doesn't have to use it's artwork in order to make it better. Like all great albums in the multi-metal universe, the music does most of the talking and the artwork takes a back seat a bit. And this music is complete with some of the most catchy and genius lyrics ever. Take every metal cliche, put a 60's/70's monster magazine take on the subject matter, mix it up with some of the best song titles and you have an album that stands head above others in the metal section. It's not cheesy in a childish way, but it's cheesy in a good horror movie way, lyricaly speaking.

The songs are played at such a fast speed that if you really don't pay attention to the music, you'll miss out on some highly technical, very talented musicians. The intro "House Of Hades" is a quasi-like techno beat in the same feel and sounds exactly like the theme song to "The Terminator". The first actual song being the title track "Crowned In Terror" is like riding a bullet-fast train speeding into the mouth of hell. Thomas Lindberg just opens up with one of the most blood-curling screams and he doesn't hold back. Plenty of tempo changes and breaks in this song almost played to a certain progressive/technical level of guitar wankery. "Under The Whip" opens up with a hammering chugging main riff and Thomas Lindberg howling like a goddamn banshee. Then comes a noodle-like guitar melody at 00:59 that at first sounds annoying and shouldn't be there but somehow both guitarists Marko Tervonen and Marcus Sunesson just morph it into the song that almost takes all the rest of the music and leaves it by itself. It's a weird technique that I haven't heard to many bands do. "Drugged Unholy" is part of the level of epicness that last for the next 3 or 4 songs. A song of drinking until you are drunker than a shit skunk in purgatory, the song builds and bulds with varying levels of blast beat-driven guitars until the guitar solo kicks in that is so Van Halen like with Thomas Lindberg screaming "Beyond the pain - beyond the grave" as loud as he possibly can. Thomas then ends the song with a snarling "This is all madness"...indeed buddy. Couldn't argue with you on that one. Then comes possibly the best track on the entire album, "World Below" which is TOTAL Bathory-worship. If you listen to both "World Below" and "Enter The Eternal Fire" it's the same tempo, same timing, just about same everything. Instead of Quorthon offering himself to the realm of darkness, Thomas Lindberg paints a nasty picture of an angry and miserable-induced suicide. "As I cast aside the chains of life - A world below for us - Born to die" which gives away to an amazing two-part guitar solo by Marcus Sunssenson. Beautiful song really. "The Speed of Darkness" is drummer Janne Saarenpää's time to shine. He is just a fucking animal behind the kit, but if you listen to real close....IT'S THE FUCKING THEME SONG TO KNIGHT RIDER! The Crown even admitted it themselves. The song does not let up as far as drumming goes. It's probably their most multi-layered song ever. "Out For Blood" is the end of that epic 3 song ride. It's just as good but nowhere near the level of that unholy trio. "(I Am) Hell" is like a hidden jewel hidden between 'Out For Blood" and "Death Id The Hunter" which both act like bridges between the 3 song epicness of "Drugged Unholy", "World Below", "The Speed of Darkness" to what could possibly be the best anthem-like song on the entire album "Satanist". Oh man if you don't feel the fire or smell the brimstone, you're fucked. The song is another showcase of Janne Saarenpää's building leveling-like drums where it's sounds like it's a 10.5 on the richter scale. Lyrically it's a tribute to those who have walked the left hand path, but in a not-so-serious rock n' roll way. Last but not least is "Death Metal Holocaust" which has The Crown's former lead singer, Johan Lindstrand, doing a guest appearance and being a total contrast to Thomas Lindberg's howling screeches is his more deeper guttural traditional Swedish death metal vocals.

By the end of the album, you are left with shakes and delirium tremors trying to understand what just happened. The total downside to this album is that when Thomas Lindberg left the band right after the touring ended for the album, they managed to get Johan Lindstand back and had the fucking audacity to re-record the entire album because the band wasn’t satisfied. I heard it and it was everything opposite of this album. If you took away the excellent sound production, took away it’s sense of epicness and not to mention having Johan sing the part where Thomas Lindberg just drove this album to epicness. I don’t how good Johan is, he can’t pull off what Thomas Lindberg is able to do with his voice. There is a reason why so many metal core bands copied him instead of Johan. So when you go out and purchase this album, purchase the original “Crowned In Terror” and pay no attention to it’s re-recorded pale imitation. This is an album I always keep coming back to due to it’s energy and will probably serve me in the years to come. Lastly I forgot to mention that I managed to catch The Crown when they toured for their “Crowned In terror” album and let me just say, seeing Thomas and the rest of the band was great. At one point I thought the windows were going to blow out due to the decibel level and sheer fucking volume of noise this band gave off during that performance. This album is a must buy for all meta lheads who want actual good Swedish metal as opposed to wannabe-Gothenburg bullshit.