Reviewed: June, 2018
Released: 2018, Metal Blade Records
Review by: Pete Mutant
The Crown are back with their tenth album under this moniker in Cobra Speed Venom, probably one of the worst names for an album I have heard -near ‘Deathrace King’ levels, but let not this name turn yee away from the music: as any The Crown fan will tell you, there’s plenty of goodness in store. The Swedish metallers have been able to churn out album after album mixing death and thrash metal with some dark melodies, with not much going by them in terms of modifying their sound slightly to suit the contemporary period. This is not to say that they aren’t individualistic, but it is to appreciate how the band can evolve to the day and age without losing the core essence of their music.
Anyways, they have released this hour long, ten-tracdk album with three bonus tracks on top to keep the fires of Swedish extreme metal burning with an almighty flame. Their last album ‘Death Is Not Dead’ had some top material on it and since then the lineup has been consistent albeit with a formal drummer being established in Implode drummer Henrik Axelsson, who has stepped in to help alleviate Maro Tervonen’s workload a fair bit. So how does this album hold up then?
Well, from the onset we get some exceedingly brilliant and oh so remarkably Swedish death metal in the opener ‘Destroyed By Madness’ which opens with a deep and resonant string section before the guitars align and give birth to some absolutely crushing music. The blasts roll on as the notes are hyper picked in a dirge of beautiful brutality. John Lindstrad’s vocals are just a perfect match to the music as all forces combine so fluently. There’s no let up as we go into the previously released single ‘Iron Crown’ which keeps the momentum driving on. There’s just so much of it throughout the album, it truly is a solid piece of music.
The band keep the essence of their death metal roots underlying throughout most of the tracks but there are several examples of it taking a step back, such as in the more thrash focused tracks like ‘Necrohammer’ and the infectiously groovy ‘Rise In Blood’. These are where the more modern aspects of metal are taken on board by the band, but this adds to the variety of their music without harming the levels of coherence or damaging the consistency of the band’s genetic makeup. They have always had a bit of thrash and melody in them, and they know when to use them, just like when they know how to take a song to the next level with their death metal leanings. The melody creeps in as well, mainly in the introductions, in tracks like ‘Where My Grave Shall Stand’ and ‘The Sign Of The Scythe’, which just ooze influences from early Paradise Lost, who they covered on their last album.
The bonus tracks just bring more of the less prevalent styles used to the table, starting off with ‘Nemesis Diamond’, which blends all that is diverse about The Crown into one uniformed track. ‘The Great Dying’ is more destructive with a much lower, stomping tempo and has doomier moments, galvanized by a bit of sludge, and the final track ‘Ride The Fire’ shifts the tempo for a final flurry of melodic thrash. Each has their own charms, but I can see why these have been attached as bonus tracks rather than being of the general makeup of the album.
The Crown have been going for a long time now and they certainly haven’t ran out of ideas since they first started, then broke up, then reformed, then broke up and then reformed again back in 2009. This album sits well with their accomplished discography thus far and if they could pull off an album such as ‘Cobra Speed Venom’ after so many releases and years in the scene, then surely they can push it a little further. I hope they do, as this was a top effort which is both a symptom of modernity but also a shining example of when all that is good about the past and present collides to form a devious construct of fine metal. Shame about the name but you can’t be perfect, now can you…
Band Music Video:
- Destroyed By Madness
- Iron Crown
- In The Name Of Death
- We Avenge!
- Cobra Speed Venom
- World War Machine
- Rise In Blood
- Where My Grave Shall Stand
- The Sign Of The Scythe
- Nemesis Diamond (bonus track)
- The Great Dying (bonus track)
- Ride The Fire (bonus track)
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass
Marko Tervonen – Guitars
Johan Lindstrad – Vocals
Robin Sörqvist – Guitars