Record Reviews

Album review: The Crown “Royal Destroyer”

Sweden’s The Crown’s new album “Royal Destroyer” is overflowing with brutal and fast death metal with thrash metal qualities and a rock’n’roll attitude.

Formed in Sweden in 1990, The Crown has been a great force in the Swedish death metal scene for three decades. They debuted in 1995 with “The Burning” and “Royal Destroyer” is the band’s eleventh studio album (or tenth, depending on how you count the “Crowned in Terror” and “Crowned Unholy” albums). Original band members Johan Lindstrand (vocals), Magnus Olsfelt (bass) and Marko Tervonen (guitar) are still here. Johan Lindstrand’s terrific angry vocals are a big part of what makes The Crown stand out from the pack together with great melodies, terrific guitar riffs and drum blasts. Robin Sörqvist on lead guitar and Henrik Axelsson on drums joined in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The new album kicks off in style with the short and furious “Baptized in Violence”. The song is only 78 seconds long, but bloody hell, those seconds are glorious. The mayhem continues from there with the crushing “Let the Hammering Begin!” and then the gorgeously speedy and brutal “Motordeath”. Over the years, The Crown has very successfully combined melodic death metal with stenchy old-school death metal. The band’s music also has a tangible raw thrash metal energy on many songs which are often played at speed metal pace and it’s all covered in a proper rock’n’roll attitude. On the new album, the band has managed to arrive at a terrific musical style that combines old-school underground death metal with more mainstream extreme metal. The result is absolute bloody mayhem. And that is a good thing. I love it. The album has some slower parts to it as well, like the heavy but relatively slow “Glorious Hades” and “We Drift On” which the band has referred to as a “ballad”. “Ultra Faust” has an intro that is very different with some haunting sounds but not in a death metal way. But a minute into the song, it turns into the expected merciless brutality. “Full Metal Justice”, “Scandinavian Satan”, “Devoid of Light” and “Beyond the Frail” are all mainly trademark The Crown-style melodic death metal with runaway guitars coming at the listener from all angles. Some of the songs have been seasoned with spicy black metal and rock’n’roll barbeque sauce to great effect. The Japanese edition of the album contains two bonus tracks: “Absolute Monarchy” and a cool raw demo version of “Dawn of Emptiness”, a song that appeared on 2003’s album “Possessed 13”. Heavy, brutal, vicious, fast and riff-happy – that is often how I like my metal served and that is what I get from The Crown. “Royal Destroyer” royally thrashes its listeners. It’s a massive album and what a joy it is to experience it.

The Crown’s “Royal Destroyer” will be released on 10th March in Japan via Avalon/Marquee and on 12th March internationally via Metal Blade Records.