Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Crown - Headhunter

When The Crown's new album, 'Death Is Not Dead', comes out early in 2015, it marks the band's first full-length in five years. More importantly, it celebrates their 25th anniversary. To give us fans a teaser of what is to come, the band recently released 'Headhunter', a smashing 7" vinyl single. However, something's afoot in The Crown camp...in case you haven't heard, drummer extraordinaire, Janne Saarenpää, is no longer with the band. The split is amicable with life throwing curveballs taking you down different avenues. But since Janne was such an integral part of the band, will his departure affect the sound? No need to worry waveriders, because their resolve is pretty good to say the least. Read on fellow Crownheads and I'll tell you all about it.

Going for the jugular, 'Headhunter' leaves you with no place to hide, as the band are out for blood and in excellent form. Man, it's like they've never been away at all. What they bring this time around is a slight return to the amazing 'Deathrace King' in sound but with a little bit more melodic leanings mixed with a punk attitude. Hmm, what the hell do I mean by all this? Well, the core of the song is definitely rooted in  'Deathrace King', while the lead guitar and solo provides the melodic side. New six-stringer Robin Sörqvist is phenomenal and brings a lot of depth to the music, he's a great acquisition indeed. Guitarist Marko Tervonen doubles up not only playing guitar but he also handles the drums. And he does a fantastic job banging the hell out of the skins. More straightforward in his approach than Janne, Marko is the one who brings punk to the fray which works great for the song. Singer Johan Lindstrand sounds great as ever as he spits out the venom bringing forth pure evil the way only he can do it. Bass maestro Magnus Olsfelt keeps it all together with his furious almost rhythm guitar-like bass playing. Wonderful is all I can say. Any fears I had upon their return were quickly shelved as The Crown immediately shows they are the masters of death metal!

The b side of my orange coloured copy is a very good cover of Napalm Death's 'Unfit Earth' from their album 'Harmony Corruption' from 1990...the year The Crown were born. A coincidence of its inclusion? I think not. Staying pretty true to the original version The Crown clearly puts their stamp on it. At the same time it shows where the Swedes' origin comes from. When they were first called Crown Of Thorns, the riffs you hear on 'Unfit Earth' is what shaped their music back then. Not exclusively but put on 'The Burning' or 'Eternal Death' and it's easy to see what impact Napalm Death had on the band in the beginning. So trust me when I say my fellow countrymen are doing the English legends and pioneers great justice. The drums on this track are handled in a very good way by Henrik Axelsson.

Welcome back The Crown, you've been sorely missed! I've already played this single to bits and pieces trying to quench my thirst for the upcoming album. As great as 'Headhunter/Unfit Earth' is I am pretty sure these death-heads are going to treat us to a beast of a release come January 2015.  

- Swedebeast

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