posted on 12/2010 By:
It's been a while since this album's release, so advance apologies to those that expected prompt analysis. Something as (purportedly) monumental as The Crown's reunion album should be dissected posthaste, should it not?
Well, that's debatable.
Expectations and anticipation, in tandem, can be killers. Initial reactions can be easily tainted. (See any of my recent blog posts for evidence.) Depending on your perspective, The Crown can be viewed one of two things: a borderline-classic outfit that released one of the millennium's best albums (the hallowed Deathrace King) or a passé death-thrash unit that limped out of the genre's heyday with a filler-laden final gasp (Possessed 13). In reality, they're both. Diehard fans (such as myself) were pining for the former. Doomsday King is a pallid reminder of the latter.
It doesn't disappoint immediately, though--in fact, it charges out of the gate with all the force and venom we've come to expect from The Crown's brand. The opening title track is appropriately rippin', bolstered by trademark gallop and a powerful blast of nostalgia. And "Angel of Death 1839"...well, it's fuckin' vicious. Easily Doomsday King's crowning moment, this track fully encapsulates The Crown's general appeal: blinding speed, raw heft, and bonebreaking recklessness. Drummer Janne Saarenpää absolutely destroys here, and his intensity keeps the remainder of the album afloat; without his relentlessness, the other four members would be in serious trouble.
After the righteous soloing that erupts from "Age of Iron," Doomsday King becomes mired in mediocrity. Unfortunately, new vocalist Jonas Stålhammar doesn't add much flavor to the proceedings. Essentially, he's a role-player, occupying a safe middle ground between predecessors Johan Lindstrand and Tomas Lindberg. Trouble is, he lacks Lindstrand's snarling enunciation, and is unable to generate Lindberg-caliber bile. Even when Stålhammar's attack borders on the decipherable, the lyrics fail him. Tongue-in-cheek Satanic bravado was an integral part of The Crown's charm (re: "Rebel Angel," "Kill 'Em All"), but Doomsday King is rife with rote metalisms and tired cliches.
The stale vocals wouldn't be so troubling if Olsfelt, Tervonen, and Sunesson had brought their A-games, but years of fucking around in shit projects like Angel Blake and Engel has dulled their blades considerably. "The Tempter and the Bible Black" doesn't have nearly the mid-paced swagger it thinks it has; "Soul Slasher" rams a cool intro riff into a brick wall after about twenty seconds; and "Desolation Domain" just sounds tired, even with its foot on the floor. Doomsday King's lackluster latter half reveals it to be a mere exhibition of false promises and unfulfilled ambitions.
And that's a shame. Deathrace King worshippers such as myself have been pining for this thing for ages, and it simply falls short of even tempered expectations. "Angel of Death 1839" is as metal-up-your-ass as it gets, but one song does not a great reunion make. Doomsday King is merely a lateral rehash of past glories. No new ground is covered. No new tricks have been unveiled. And Janne Saarenpää, unfortunately, smashes his kit in vain. Not unlike the fans that have been reduced to mining Doomsday King for nonexistent gems before finally shutting the damn thing off, reaching into the still-vital back catalog while wondering--sometimes aloud--what the fucking point was, anyway...
Register to post comments.