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Crown | Crowned In Terror | review | metal | Lollipop

The Crown

Crowned In Terror (Metal Blade)
by Tim Den

Remember the complete loss of emotional, adrenaline control the first time you heard Reign in Blood? How your spine tingled with madness, your limbs ached with exploding energy, your throat screamed with murderous rage? Crowned in Terror has somehow masterfully replicated that immense feeling of transcendental brutality for a new generation of metalheads, and the slaughter has never felt so complete.

I'm not just talking about some "heavy, crunchy" album that you can put on, bang your head to a bit, then take off and forget about. Crowned in Terror is an experience that gels to your bones like only the best metal albums can: A shock treatment that not only leaves you in continuous disbelief song after song, but with an afterglow that simmers your soul forever.

Finesse, articulation, and godlike power seem to come naturally to The Crown. After the disappointing Deathrace King (a total Motörhead tribute album), they've pulled together the best elements of aggressive music on Crowned in Terror like streams meeting to form a river: Easily, gracefully, flowingly. Or at least that's how the songs feel. From the thrash-crazy, maniacal head-charge of the title track, to the out-of-control speed punk of "Drugged Unholy," The Crown piles on thrash, hardcore, crusty punk, and (of course) death metal to form a streamlined skyscraper of sickness. Notice I said "streamlined"... Other bands have attempted this formula, but none has been able to compose cohesive structures out of such diverse genres. But The Crown haven't just perfected this mixture, they sound like they've captured the spirit of classic-era Slayer in the process. I mean, this shit's so pure, so honest, that even jaded old-timers will lose control of themselves like they haven't done since they were teens. The conviction is just too much to handle. You will be stagediving off your bed like an idiotic new fan.

High points are everywhere. "Under the Whip" and "The Speed of Darkness" both unleash the nastiest breakdowns since "Angel of Death," "World Below" contains a fierce Pestilence off-time waltz in the middle, and "Death is the Hunter" has the most devastating ending imaginable. And that's not mentioning drummer Janne Saarenpää's inhuman precision and inventiveness, new vocalist (at the time; now departed) Tomas Lindberg's bloodthirsty delivery (guess he's making up for the blandness of that last Lock Up album), or the entire band's penchant for playing faster than any other metal band without sacrificing clarity or momentum. In fact, I dare say a big part of The Crown's ferociousness is due to their "full steam ahead" attack. Oh, and don't I dare forget the majestic, Scandinavian melodies that pierce everything. My drool is all over the place.

Crowned in Terror ushers in a new era for both The Crown and for death metal. This album proves that the genre is not yet spent, that there's still hope. If a decade-old death metal band can deliver not only their best, most diverse, cohesive album of their career in the year 2002, then surely we have something to look forward to. Hail The Crown!
(2828 Cochran St. PMB 302 Simi Valley, CA 93065)


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