I still remember more ten year ago when we had those 3 color screen cell phones and I managed to squeeze inside Total Satan from The Crown; a fifteen year old kids ˙˙fuck you all˙˙ anthem. Of course later I discovered the furious thrashing majesty of their whole discography under both monikers, were it The Crown of Thorns or simply The Crown.
Some albums were better than others but still The Crown must be one of Sweden’s most underrated metal exports. Thrashing since 1990, unleashing classics like The Burning, The Eternal Death, Hell is Here and Deathrace King. They are definitely of one few who successfully combined aggressive thrash metal style with slick catchiness and speed of the Scandinavian melodic death metal sound. Despite that, the powerhouse lost steam in 2004 after a Crowned Unholy.
Five years later a new life entered the band but not without changing their original vocalist Johan Lindstrand who at the time had his project of its own: One Man Army and the Undead Quartet. But his replacement was very worthy: Jonas Stålhammar from Bombs of Hades and currently plays guitars in the legendary At the Gates.
The ˙˙kind of˙˙ comeback album with Jonas was Doomsday King and while being a solid record it is weaker offering than its spiritual younger brother Deathrace King. But to be honest, its hard top a all killer no filer record like that one.
But I’ll be damned If Cobra Speed Venom does not come close.
Not really by cunt hair close but after a stinker like Death is not Dead this one hits like a damn Mack truck. I don’t know did they renowned their contract with Beelzebub but this is a sound of a rejuvenated band. And they are pissed off more than usual.
The first track Destroyed by Madness is literal kick in the teeth by its fury and thundering drums by the new member Henrik Axelsson which brings the much needed speed which the last album lacked. Since the first two albums under the Crown of Thorns moniker, this must the most death metal work they have released. Despite being one of few bands successfully found that near-invisible ground between thrash and melodic death metal.
Production on the album is fantastic and its thick and massive sound fits the band like a damn glove. It’s similar to their older records but way more massive and rough around the edges, in a positive way. It has been produced by none other then Fredrik Nordström who produced one of the best metal albums in the Scandinavian scene and wider. And the produced Deathrace King, so my constant comparison with the album is very justified. The guy really gives the band their signature sound.
The fluid of the album is excellent, to a point similar to Doomsday King but in spirit more akin to the vibe of their earlier works. A great example is the title track Cobra Speed Venom which combines the punkish fast feel with epic moments enhanced with keyboards just in some parts when is needed. Another standout is definitely the last track The Sign of the Scythe which serves as a perfect closer with awesome black metal style riffs in the chorus and added dark atmosphere.
In conclusion, if you are a The Crown fan this is a damn must, if you are a death/thrash fan and did not heard of this band you are missing a lot, and own to yourself to check them out.