March 8, 2021 The Crown – Royal Destroyer (Album Review)
The product of Sweden’s Death Metal scene for over 30 years, the bludgeoning five piece known as The Crown will drop their new album, Royal Destroyer, on Friday, March 12, 2021 via the iconic Metal Blade Records.
Formed in 1990, this band of Death Metal misfits released their first two albums, 1995’s The Burning and 1997’s Eternal Death, under the band name Crown of Thorns. By the release of their third LP, 1999’s Hell Is Here, the name of the band morphed from Crown of Thorns to simply The Crown. Over the course of a staggering three decades in the music business, The Crown would forge an incredibly heavy sound chock full of outright aggression. In 2018, The Crown released their 9th studio album, Cobra Speed Venom, and looked forward to their upcoming 30th anniversary.
As the challenges of 2020 initially put the recording of their 10th studio album on hold, The Crown’s core lineup of Vocalist Johan Lindstrand, Lead Guitarist Robin Sörqvist, Rhythm Guitarist Marko Tervonen, Bassist Magnus Olsfelt, and Drummer Henrik Axelsson was determined to get back in the studio with the intent to put their blood, sweat, and tears into the next album. Come October 202o, The Crown teamed up with one of Sweden’s most revered producers in Death Metal and Power Metal, Fredrik Nordström, to record Royal Destroyer. Laying down 10 new tracks, The Crown are extremely proud of Royal Destroyer. To express this feeling of utopia, Osfelt commented: “I think it in some ways is our crowning achievement, and it encompasses our sound across all albums on one defining record. It’s got it all – the early ’90s Death Metal stuff, the haunting melodies, the Thrash, the Punk, the Grind, the Heavy Metal, and the more epic and doomy stuff.”
Giving the album title Royal Destroyer some true substance, the LP kicks off with “Baptized in Violence.” Clocking in at just one minute and eighteen seconds, some may initially think this track is a mere album intro. Think again, as the tune is a good excuse to stuff a ton of overwhelmingly heavy rhythms and speed guitar into a small piece and The Crown do it beautifully. Paying homage to one of the greats, The Crown pay tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman of Slayer via the brutally heavy track called “Let the Hammering Begin!” Continuing a pattern of phenomenal song titles, “Motordeath” has a very Punk-driven Death Metal sound.
Next, “Ultra Faust” finds The Crown sounding like Type O Negative on the opening notes and the following groove before completely going in a different direction when the song changes into a Death Metal piece. A subdued and slower number, “Glorious Hades” delivers a different feel to the album before “Full Metal Justice” and the blistering enthusiasm of “Scandinavian Satan.” Getting to the end, “Devoid of Light” precedes somewhat of a ballad in “We Drift On,” and then “Beyond the Frail” will give you whiplash thanks to dominating Death Metal drumming and pure evil vocals.
To say the least, Royal Destroyer is ten tracks of highly abrasive Death Metal tendencies that only seem to get more nasty as each track rips away at your soul. If The Crown’s intention was to put their all into every note of Royal Destroyer, then mission accomplished. Every track is to the point, in your face, and awakens the senses. With that, Cryptic Rock awards Royal Destroyer 4 out of 5 stars.