The Crown is the Toyota of death metal. They’re not super fancy, they’re not championed by hipsters as the “it” thing and you certainly don’t namedrop The Crown to impress your friends. But, anybody with half a brain knows that The Crown is a band that consistently delivers infallible Swedish-style death metal, without faltering, ever, much like my Toyota Camry — a tried and true friend to wise consumers.
Possessed 13 is their latest release, and while they don’t bring anything new to the table, they’ve tweaked their old stuff with more aggression and power. Back with the band for this album is original vocalist Johan Lindstrand. Absent from the previous album, Crowned in Terror, he brings a new energy to The Crown. While Crowned in Terror is more powerful than the legendary 1999 release, Deathrace King, Possessed 13 is actually a better album than Crowned in Terror for several reasons.
Possessed 13 is dripping with an evil creepiness, from the opening tinkered notes of “No Tomorrow” to the overdriven guitar melodies of “In Memoriam.” In general, the guitars are much more raw and unpolished sounding than on previous albums, causing several of the songs to sound almost like metalcore. The drums are still as pummeling and potent as ever, but they’re slowed down a bit, thus increasing the album’s darkness: slow + plodding = evil. I kind of like the sound of Tomas Lindberg’s vocals on the last album, but I must say that Lindstrand’s voice is just more appropriate for a raw and dark album, such as this one. The band as a whole seems to show off how sweet they are, content to punish the listener with unbridled aggression and all things black. The Crown is truly “the shiz.” Metalheads of all ages, if you haven’t heard these guys, you’re really missing out. A+ for this one.
P.S. There’s an interesting homage to old school Metallica on this album, entitled “Kill ’em All,” which is really worth checking out.
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