THE CROWN
"Cobra Speed Venom"

(Metal Blade)

01. Destroyed by Madness
02. Iron Crown
03. In the Name of Death
04. We Avenge!
05. Cobra Speed Venom
06. World War Machine.
07. Necrohammer
08. Rise in Blood
09. Where My Grave Shall Stand
10. The Sign of the Scythe
11. Nemesis Diamond (bonus track)
12. The Great Dying (bonus track)
13. Ride the Fire (bonus track)

RATING: 9/10

One the biggest buzzes in metal this year comes around Swedish death metal crushers THE CROWN. The group is on sure footing these days after returning in 2009 from a five-year hiatus. Johan Lindstrand reclaimed the mike in 2011, rejoining bassist Magnus Olsfelt and rhythm guitarist Marko Tervonen as THE CROWN celebrated its quarter century in 2015 with "Death is Not Dead". The band's historical acumen for mashing thrash, grind, hardcore, power metal and even grit rock with melody pays off hugely on its rollercoaster new album, "Cobra Speed Venom".

"Destroyed by Madness"'s cello-assisted intro is hardly a new innovation to metal, but it certainly leaves its gruesome impact as the lurking channels open an intense path towards wicked fast thrash. It's hard not to shout the choruses of KREATOR's "Storming With Menace" alongside Johan Lindstrand here, but that's half the enjoyment of the track. That, and Robin Sorqvist leading THE CROWN's whirlwind of guitars, which will whip hairs off your scalp.

The blustery "Iron Crown" rules on so many levels, beginning with Henrik Axelsson's tsunami-speed drumming, much less its lashing melody. The song's breakdown would send many other bands packing. The difference to what THE CROWN does here and all over this album, is it drops rocked-out passages within the flailing speed. "In the Name of Death" shakes as much as it thrashes, making it ridiculously entertaining, especially when Robin Sorqvist peals his first solo seemingly at random. Henrik Axelsson's hammering intro to the track is astounding, much less the grind assault he simmers into the title track.

Wildly pleasurable is the PRONG-based stomp of "We Avenge! " where revolution just might come, and if it does, make sure you haven't been skipping leg day when the proposed march gathers. Said summons comes as quickly as the TESTAMENT-saluting "World War Machine". "Rise in Blood", even more so than "Necrohammer", is the audile equivalent of armored warriors luridly whisked towards death by Sauron in "The Lord of the Rings"'s Battle of Dagorlad.

Story continues after advertisement

But wait, what is that slow and easy instrumental with shades of greasy Southern rock amidst the gory funeral plod on "Where My Grave Shall Stand"? Yeeesh, what a trip. THE CROWN nearly falls over itself trying to blast out of the doom slogging intro to "The Sign of the Scythe". Afterwards, it finds its footing and turns out a marvelously dynamic finish to an album that plays about but ultimately plays for keeps. Hang tight afterwards for three equally gnarly nut-busting bonus tracks, "Nemesis Diamond", "The Great Dying" and "Ride the Fire".

Seldom do you come out of a death metal album exclaiming "Damn, that was fun!" Accolades of "brutal" being more commonplace, it's refreshing to hear THE CROWN bring everything to the table including the table itself, while making you shake your ass in-between headbangs. "Cobra Speed Venom" is one of 2018's must-own albums.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).