Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Crown - Death Is Not Dead

My favourite death metal band is finally back after five long years. When word reached me that they were about to release a new album, yours truly was...hmm ecstatic to say the least. Has it been worth the wait, you might ask? Hell yeah, and then some! The Crown are pulling out all the stops on the new fantastic opus, 'Death Is Not Dead'. And true to the title, death metal the way it's supposed to sound is not dead, if more bands do what these Swedes are doing. Just listen to this wax and you'll know what I mean.

There's been quite a change within the camp since their last album, 'Doomsday King'. Drum professor Janne"Terminator"Saarenpää is no longer in the fold, having left music all together unfortunately. Prior to that, lead guitarist Marcus Sunesson departed as well. Some quarters of the fan base might be worried what the new songs sounds like because of this, but there's is no need to fear.

None of their trademarks are gone, they are still present and even more amplified than before. However, two new elements have been added with an amazing result. In all their heaviness, melody has been infused to great aplomb and it's most notable whenever new lead guitarist Robin Sörqvist pulls off solo after brilliant solo. The second element is the appearance of Scandinavian folk music. No, The Crown hasn't gone Finntroll on us, quite the contrary. The instrumental master piece 'Meduseld' is a prime example of this, where death metal metal meets melody meets beautiful indigenous music and the outcome has me floored. This is how you move up to a whole new level, dear waveriders.

How did the band solve the drumming situation? They did it the best possible way by letting guitarist Marko Tervonen handle the stix. And holy fuck, he blows my mind! Check out 'Iblis Bane', 'Struck By Lightning', 'Herd Of Swine', 'Ride To Ruin' and the cover of Sodom's 'Agent Orange' and marvel at Marko's prowess and sheer brilliance behind the drums. He is a beast!

I am faced with a dilemma, albeit a good one. On 99.99% of the albums I review there are always standout tracks to focus on. Not so on 'Death Is Not Dead' which is one of those rare recordings where everything is perfect, a complete release if you will. There are no weak points on here whatsoever, not that I tried to look for any.  But I keep playing it over and over again only to find new parts I missed as well as realizing how much it grows each time. Magnus Olsfelt's bass guitar is more pronounced than ever being more like a second rhythm guitar but with a heavier bottom line. And John Lindstrand is more pissed off than ever spitting out hellfire and brimstone at any unsuspecting listener. Amazing, indeed.

Welcome back guys. The long wait for the new album is a mere memory, now when I can finally play 'Death Is Not Dead' non-stop and life is good again. Death metal has in my eyes been on the decline for many years with bands putting out meager, rehashed stuff. So, with The Crown back unleashing their bar-to-none take on this music, my hopes for the genre has returned. Tack som fan gubbar!

- Swedebeast

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