Century Media Record
27 September 2010
by Tom Dare
Reunions are always shit, right? They basically happen when other projects run out of steam or don’t sell very well and the members run out of cash. Except, for all those that leaves you feeling very cynical (Rage Against The Machine,) or that are great for five minutes before disappearing back into the sunset (At The Gates), there are occasionally those that do it properly. Having gone their separate ways in 2004, Swedish thrashers The Crown got back together last December, and now they appear to be in that small group bucking the trend – this record fucking slays.
It perhaps helps that the cynicismometer reading is automatically quite low with a band like The Crown. They were never a particularly big name in the first place – if you’re playing heavy-as-fuck thrash with large doses of death metal thrown in, you’re not going to be selling out three nights at Wembley Stadium no matter who you are – so the first sound out of the speakers was never going to be digitised dollar signs. There is less the stale scent of nostalgia than the formidable aura of unfinished business, and the sound is that of a band demanding the rightful respect they never got before. But rather than relying on past glories to garner the limelight, they unleash a new barrage of brutality to grab you by the bollocks.
When Doomsday King rips into life with the assault of the opening title track, the immediate thought is “fuck yeah! The Crown are back!”- heavy and sinister riffing is joined by barbaric drumming and ripping vocals, and it’s all as great as it ever was. New vocalist Jonas Stålhammar – the only personnel change in the reunion – stamps his presence on the proceedings at the first opportunity, and his predecessors on vocal duties are not missed. With the relief that everything is firing as it should, and that the ‘Reunions Are Shit’ mantra does not apply, you can relax and settle in to the evil. With more than a knowing wink in Slayer’s direction, ‘Angel Of Death 1839’ (which strangely references ‘Raining Blood’ instead of the obvious) leads us on this parade of horror with mischievous violence before ‘Age Of Iron’ reassures you that the art of shred has not been lost in the inactive years.
Watch The Crown play live at Wacken way back in 2002:
The riffs keep coming, from the light-speed savagery of ‘Through The Eyes Of Oblivion’ to the slightly more restrained, doom-laden passages of ‘The Tempter And The Bible Black’. Someone also seems to have forgotten to tell The Crown that albums that go on 20 minutes too long and run out of steam are currently en vogue – Doomsday King ends at the precise point it should. It gives you enough to keep you happy but doesn’t quite finish you off, leaving you wanting more for the future.
This has the potential to be one of the few reunions that not only fails to look like a shameless cash-in but actually manages to release material that doesn’t crap all over the fond memories. If there is any justice, Doomsday King will begin to get this highly underappreciated band the deserved recognition they never attained. Even if it doesn’t, fans of fucking furious thrash everywhere will be raising the horns and welcoming The Crown back to the fold.
Sounds like: Legion Of The Damned, The Haunted in an evil mood
Top tracks: Angel Of Death 1839, Age Of Iron, To Light
The Crown – Doomsday King tracklisting:
Angel Of Death 1839
Age Of Iron
The Tempter And the Bible Black
Through Eyes Of Oblivion
From the Ashes I Shall Return