Metal Monument: The Crown - Deathrace King

Band: The Crown
Album: "Deathrace King"
Style: Death/thrash metal
Release date: 2000-04-25
Origin: Sweden

1. Deathexplosion
2. Executioner - Slayer of the Light
3. Back from the Grave
4. Devil Gate Ride
5. Vengeance
6. Rebel Angel
7. I Won't Follow
8. Blitzkrieg Witchcraft
9. Dead Man's Song
10. Total Satan
11. Killing Star (Susperia Luxuria XXX)

Record cover:
This might not be the most aesthetic record cover I've ever seen, but it does it's job more or less. You have to remember that this was conceived during the big millennium-hype and Photoshop wasn't what it is today back then. It's basically just skulls with stripes to give you that feeling that things are going to be fast as hell. It suites the album and it's songs perfectly. I am a bit skeptic to the two-dimensional choices in colors and I wouldn't mind some red or brown here and there. Other than that, the logo and choice of font is alright, but nothing too special.

1. Deathexplosion (03.57)
You don't get many seconds to breathe once the record starts and never before has a song been so aptly titled. This is the record where the razor-spitting voice of Johan Lindstrand comes to perfection. There is intensity and speed all over the place (as it is with most of the songs on this record) and a special mention also has to go to the lyrics - especially the fantastic phrase "I'll come back for more, when Satan needs soilders out for war". This is certainly an explosion of death metal with some fine thrash elements and guitar solos that for once does not feel out of place. A yummy start for a very underrated record.

2. Executioner - Slayer of the Light (03.45)
One second into the song and we're already on the first verse. Intensity is once again the keyword here and the lyrics are as cool as ever - even though they (somewhat) tell the story of the murder that Jon Nödtveit of Dissection-fame was convicted for in 1997. Insanely cool riffings and breaks make the most part of this song and the somewhat short playing-time (which is also the case with most songs here) actually benefits the song - whereas it would probably feel more dull, had it been longer.
"Executioner... executioner, life destroyer! Executioner, shadow in the night
Desecrator... violator, Satan's soldier! Devastator, cruelty and death!"

3. Back from the Grave (03.06)
The song begins with a cool riff over some pounding drums and are slowly faded up. Then, an ever cooler riff begins with Mr. Lindstrand screaming along. The chorus has a bit more "epic" guitar-feel to it (without being overly epic at all) and while this is refreshing compared to the two previous songs, it lacks the intensity those two had. Also, the soloing feels a bit too much guitar-wankery for my taste. But it is still a god damned good song.

4. Devil Gate Ride (04.10)
"Devil Gate Ride" begins with an epic bass-line from Magnus Olsfelt, who shines even more on this record with his incredible lyrics about war, Satan, death, drugs and going fast as hell. It's rock n' roll meets Satan basically, but it is done with such a splendor that I keep being amazed by them after all these years. Just look at this: "The world is on fire!! Burning up my tires!! Every skull is smiling!! I'm a devil gate rider!!". Epic poetry indeed. On this song, we also get a guest appearance by Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg -  known from a zillion bands, most notably At the Gates - and while his presence is cool and all, it doesn't add that much to the song, since Johan has such a good voice himself and they doesn't differ that much from each other to be honest. This song is fast as hell, but not as interesting as the previous - that's pretty much it.

5. Vengeance (04.45)
Immediately, you realize that this is one of the more slower songs apparent on "Deathrace King" - but that's mostly because the majority of the rest blazes on with an incredible speed. There is a different feel to this one and it's more doomy and apocalyptic vibe fits perfectly after the speed-fest that "Devil Gate Ride" is. There is also a moment on this song where they go utterly At the Gates on us, and that always brings a smile on my face. Otherwise, this song is not as memorable as many of the others here.

6. Rebel Angel (04.22)
While the starting riff (which soon becomes the main riff for this song) might feel a bit too much rock n' roll and not so much death metal, it doesn't destroy the song at all. On the contrary, this the perfect party metal-song of this album. The soloing, the riffing and the atmosphere on this one is perfect as one of the centerpieces of the album.

The Crown, 2000
7. I Won't Follow (04.28)
Here we go with the speed again. An amazing riff opens this song and then it's back to more rock n' roll-soloing before the verse and chorus starts. Yes, it's speedy most of the time, but The Crown do this which such variation in both riffing and vocals that the album never gets boring and "I Won't Follow" is a stellar example of this. Plus, they know perfectly well when the song needs to slow down just a little bit and when they have to work to keep it fresh.

8. Blitzkrieg Witchcraft (03.38)
Beyond what an amazingly cool title "Blitzkrieg Witchcraft" is - the song itself ain't horseshit either. The entire band builds the verse up really nice until they explode into the chorus with lyrics that always makes me smile: "Blitzkrieg witchcraft - massmurder megaslaughter! Madness, terror - the occult power of destruction! Nuclear warfare - burning storms of radiation! H-bomb! Sieg Satan - Exploding bodies uber alles!". The solos are also pure ace and this is the best song on the record so far.

9. Dead Man's Song (04.08)
As with "Vengeance", this is one of the more slow songs on the album and one of the weakest points on the album. Sure, the riffing is cool as always - but it actually gets a bit tedious quite quickly and I wouldn't be weeping if they had skipped this song entirely. Not that it is a disaster or anything like that, but it pales so much when it's placed between the previous and "Total Satan".

10. Total Satan (04.07)
Here we go! Amazingly fast, aggressive and filled with so much attitude, one almost misses when the verse goes into the chorus and Johan keeps screaming "Total Satan!". Yes, the song doesn't change very much during the first 1½ minutes, but the attitude and rawness still prevails once they slow things down and much of this has to be credited to the amazing lyrics and Johan's ever-impressing vocals that never stops: "There are no laws...nothing is sacred...total Satan anarchy!". Easily the crown jewel on "Deathrace King". If this song doesn't make you want to headbang and just run furiously into a crowd of people - there's something seriously wrong with you.

11. Killing Star (Superbia Luxuria XXX) (08.38)
How will The Crown manage to keep things interesting after the amazing previous song one might ask. The answer is - it does not go that well. Also, it never helped that "Killing Star" is over eight minutes long - and this is on an album where most of the songs are around 4 minutes and speed has always been the keyword. So naturally, this song has both midtempo and some slower places but in the end, it just is way too long for it's own good. Also, if you've read along with the lyrics so far during the record - they almost seem a bit too juvenile and weak for their own good here. At this point, you're pretty much fed up and it's my honest opinion that the album should have ended with "Total Satan".

End rating
As I just mentioned, had the album been only 10 songs long - it would be vastly better and walk away with a higher average score. But since there are amazing tracks here, such as "Deathexplosion", "Executioner - Slayer of the Light", "Blitzkrieg Witchcraft" and "Total Satan" just to name a few - I still couldn't go very low with the score. But this is not only The Crown's best song material on a record, the band itself is flawless and special mentions must go to the insanely fast drummer Janne Saarenpää, the über-cool lyricist Magnus Olsfelt and the very underrated vocalist Johan Lindstrand.
So as I said, I would award "Deathrace King" with 10 points if they had skipped "Killing Star" entirely and maybe exchanged "Dead Man's Song" with something faster. But who am I to complain over this, 12 years later?

"Jehovah dictator! We're not your slaves!
This is for all those you've sent down to Hell!
Say what? I'm damned? I don't care 'cause I don't wanna get to heaven!"

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