When I first discovered that THE CROWN was releasing a new album I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and choosing to review it was easily one of the best decisions I’ve made. Cobra Speed Venom is not only the band’s tenth album but it marks their return to Metal Blade Records. THE CROWN have been active off and on for roughly 28 years but you wouldn’t know it listening to Cobra Speed Venom. This album truly showcases the bands drive and dedication to their craft and that’s apparent from the get go with opening track ”Destroyed By Madness” which surprisingly has a bit of a thrash metal influence in it that really fits with their melodic death metal sound. Current and original vocalist Johan Lindstrand is a force to be reckoned with and shows why he has been on all but two albums.
The amount of harsh raspy vocals truly add to the intensity of the music and drives the lyrical themes home. They wouldn’t have the same impact if Johan didn’t go balls to the wall with his growls, especially on “World War Machine”. Lead guitarist Robin Sorqvist really stands out as he somehow manages to create multiple solos within each song without them feeling forced or out of place. These guys are so diverse that they are able to create powerful songs like their shortest yet easily most powerful track “Rise In Blood” to seven-minute track “The Sign Of the Scythe”. The band truly shines on instrumental “Where My Grave Shall Stand,” which helps give Johan vocal rest and showcases the musicianship within the group. It’s a step away from the pounding death metal style they’re known for.
Of course they pick right back up with “The Sign of the Scythe” where rhythm guitarist Marko Tervonen and drummer Henrik Axelsson set the pace for the entire track with some of the smoothest time changes that I’ve heard in years while enabling Robin to showcase more of his amazing lead work. One would think that ten powerful tunes would be enough for THE CROWN to prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with, and it is, but the band decided to take it further and grace us with three additional bonus tracks to add to the already phenomenal album. Overall Cobra Speed Venom is just over an hour of some of the best melodic death metal that this amazing band has to offer.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Destroyed By Madness”, “Cobra Speed Venom”, “Where My Grave Shall Stand”, “Nemesis Diamond”
-BRIAN “TORCH” IDELL