THE CROWN – Doomsday King

After disbanding six years ago citing the harsh realities of being an underground band as the cause, THE CROWN make their welcome return. So what’s different in 2010 for the band? First of all, their off the rails, crashing and bashing brand of Swedish death/thrash remain intact. Second, Jonas Stålhammar (GOD MACABRE) takes over the vocal duties for original vocalist Johan Lindstrand. Strangely enough, Jonas sounds a lot like Johan just with more of a gravely edge.

So the most important question becomes, “So how does Doomsday King measure to THE CROWN’s strong body of work?” Stylistically, Doomsday King largely provides sound and style that fans love about them. The excellent riffs, the manic blasting drums, the breakneck pace, and death bellows all sound great. Songs like “Soul Slasher,” “Desolation Domain,” and “He Who Rises in Might – From Darkness to Light” rank as some of the best songs THE CROWN has ever written. The latter closes out Doomsday King and is one of the best closers one can find. Stylistically, the song harkens back to the early days of not just the band but the Swedish death/black scene in general.

However, the album, as whole, isn’t without its weaknesses. Some songs don’t quite measure up in terms of songwriting and overall effectiveness (i.e. “The Tempter and the Bible Black”). Others aren’t quite as catchy all the way through.

At the end of the day, these weaknesses are what bring Doomsday King down to a level that simply isn’t good enough. And that’s the thing that really hurts as a longtime fan of THE CROWN. (Century Media Records)