The Crown - The Burning Review
by Matt Hensch
Sweden had one of the most impressive metal scenes in the early 1990's, the likes of which was brought full-circle by several significant artists including At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames. The scene was alive and booming with a strong emphasis on melodic death metal as youthful bands began sprouting up with their new ideas and concepts, but like any scene, there were groups that went unnoticed and were overshadowed by other outfits. Though some bands were denied their rightful awareness, The Crown managed to be screwed over the most due to the lack of attention they received and the band's supreme talent.
The Crown (known as Crown Of Thorns before a lawsuit) was like most Swedish bands at this time, but they were also quite different; the band's innovative take on Gothenburg was made perfectly clear with their 1995 debut LP, The Burning. The Crown's style of melodic death metal takes a zesty spark of heaviness and adds it to a circulating breeze of melody, which makes The Burning satisfying to all the senses.
Due to the overwhelming melodic structure, I think The Burning can be considered a Gothenburg album as it has several similar qualities to many releases that spring from that Swedish-born genre. The riffing follows the melodies and harmonies found in most Gothenburg bands with the addition of various technical solos. A lot of the songs focus around melodic tendencies with harmonic riffs that bands like Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates traditionally used. Johan Lindstrand's dark vocals contribute a gigantic amount of energy and power to this record as he dishes out growl after growl with excessive might. Johan's barks sound original and clear, which is a key asset that most death metal frontmen lack.
Brutality wasn't factored into many Gothenburg albums at this time, but The Burning proved otherwise as The Crown unleashed a frantic show of melody with a crushing fist of heaviness. Guitarists Marko Tervonen and Marcus Sunesson play unusually fast and change riffs at accelerated paces with a variety of pleasing guitar work. The way Tervonen and Sunesson play is much heavier than several other Gothenburg bands as they exercise speed along with their melodic influences; the result is an unpredictable guitar show with some of the darkest melodic death metal around. Drummer Janne Saarenpδδ frequently uses blastbeats and fills rather than easy drum patterns, which is another seed that remained dormant in many melodic death outfits during the early 1990's.
Those who typically dread the Gothenburg sound will be surprised upon hearing The Burning and all the heaviness surrounding it. The Crown isn't an ordinary melodic death band, but rather a group that enforces brutality along side their Gothenburg roots. The Burning is one of The Crown's best releases and should be picked up by anyone who enjoys melodic death to the slightest degree.
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