Interview with The Crown
by Victor Augusto
Ok, before I start my smooth talking, let me travel back in time. The year was 2002 and my older brother appeared at home with two albums from a Swedish Death Metal band. I clearly remember, to this day, when The Crown albums “Hell is Here” (1999) and “Deathrace King” (2000) started to play on our old stereo. After that, I understood how amazing the music from Sweden was. We became fans and we never stopped looking for the band’s new releases, even though it was not an easy task at that time in South America.
I was living in a very poor neighbourhood, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), without access to the internet or a computer, even though those two things were becoming popular at that time. Heavy Metal was a very strange kind of music for people who lived in that place too. I had no money to buy magazines either, but the years have passed and after almost two decades, here I am, without words to describe how happy I am to have the opportunity to talk with The Crown.
Thanks to the vocalist Johan Lindstrand for taking part in this interview. I do hope you have fun reading about the long career of this amazing band! We have many things to talk about, including their newest release, the killer album “Royal Destroyer”.
Victor Augusto: Since the first time that I heard The Crown, my impression was that the band prioritises creating music that brings energy and could thrill the listeners enough to bang their heads. No matter if you are playing in more of a Thrash or Death Metal style, this is the sensation that the band offers. For this new album that approach hasn’t changed. At the band’s very beginnings, was it your intention to sound so brutal or did it happen naturally?
Johan Lindstrand: The intensity was there from the beginning. We were very inspired by Morbid Angel and Deicide amongst others and we loved the fast brutal stuff. Back then we didn’t have so much of our own identity, but we grew into our own sound more and more as the years passed, but the energy kind of stuck with us. So that’s a very important thing for us for sure, but the cool thing in this band is that we have so much creativity going and we mix a lot of different elements to make the sound more diverse. That’s very important, I think. When you have many songwriters, like we do, you can create that rollercoaster album which puts the listener on high alert because he doesn’t know what will come next.
Victor Augusto: The crown has released three albums over the last 6 years and you have kept the same line up as well. Do you think that the stable line-up and the sequence of tours helped you to reach the musical result on Royal Destroyer?
Johan Lindstrand: It’s always good to have a steady line up with people you enjoy hanging out with and who are pretty much in sync with you musically. It makes everything easier. We rehearsed really hard for “Royal Destroyer” and we also had to postpone the recording due to Covid-19, which in the end gave us more time to rehearse and make the songs better. So, it’s all about hard work mixed with great band chemistry.
Victor Augusto: Talking about the long-time partners in crime Marko Tervonen (guitar) and Magnus Olsfelt (bass) have been together since the beginning of the band. You also stayed with them most of the time during the intervening decades. Even though you have had a few break ups and hiatus, you’ve still conquered and urged a huge respect worldwide. How is the relationship amongst you three after so many years?
Johan Lindstrand: The relationship has always been good. We have been friends for a long time now. We were only kids when we first started and we have grown up together playing Death Metal in a kickass band. Like brothers in arms. More than half our lives have been dedicated to this and it’s kinda crazy when you think about it.
Victor Augusto: Of course Robin Sörqvist (lead guitar) and Henrik Axelsson (drums) are amazing musicians who joined the band for the 3 previous albums (Henrik just for the last 2). What could they offer to the band’s sonority of the band’s sound, considering you already had a strong identity when they joined?
Johan Lindstrand: They have been amazing from day one. They have brought in a new boost of energy into the sound and also into the band chemistry as well. Great guys that fit perfectly. I hope they stick around till the end.
Victor Augusto: Returning to the past, I remember after discovering the band, I spent many years without knowing anything about the releases available because I was so broken that I hadn’t access to either the internet or the money to buy heavy metal magazines. When I finally had money to find and buy a new album from The Crown, I discovered “Crowned in Terror” with Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates) replacing you on vocals. It is curious that I didn’t know anything about Tomas or At the Gates, but I loved that album even knowing that you are the best man to be THE band’s front man. How was that experience to have him on the band at that period, if you don’t mind talking about it?
Johan Lindstrand: Tomas was in the band for a very short period. They did that album and went on tour in the States. It simply didn’t work out. I believe it’s hard to come into an already established band and try to fit in. But I think that “Crowned in Terror” is a great album and Tomas did a great job. Many people love it, including me. Respect!!
Victor Augusto: On 2021, the band showed old videos from when you were called Crown of Thorns. My impression after I saw it was that you’ve always had that classic Swedish sonority, that brings a really dark atmosphere, but The Crown seems to flee from it towards a more aggressive style of music. Was it your intention to focus on this aggressive sound to be different from the other Swedish bands at that time?
Johan Lindstrand: As I mentioned before we were very inspired by classic old school US Death Metal and there wasn’t that much melodic stuff happening. I guess we just wanted speed and aggression, but pretty early on we started to mess around with more melody and made our sound wider. We have never felt like we belong anywhere in the Swedish scene. We have always drawn our own path.
Victor Augusto: “What is happening, Victor?”. Those were my wife’s scared words after I screamed a concise and loud “Holy Shit!” when I was reviewing the newest album “Royal Destroyer” (2021). The reason for this reaction was because all the tracks from the album sound like you just wanted to create the best set of songs ever. There is not one song which sounds like it was a case of “more of the same’, just to complete an album. How hard was it to achieve this result when you were composing for this album?
Johan Lindstrand: We had a lot of songs to choose from. In the end we threw I think 2 or 3 songs away which didn’t feel as good as the others. I think we knew pretty early that we had good material in our hands and when you get that positive vibe; it’s all about rehearsing to make it even better. And we nailed the whole album in 7 days in the studio. We didn’t want to overwork it. We wanted a fresh, live feeling and those songs ended up perfectly on the album.
Victor Augusto: Still talking about “Royal Destroyer”, it is a mix of everything you’ve done along the decades, but even more brutal. Just the fast and killer opening song ‘Baptized In Violence’ feels ready to destroy everything. I felt even a bit of diluted Hardcore in the mix on this track, amongst the Death Metal. How did you work together to compose this album?
Johan Lindstrand: ‘Baptized in Violence’ was actually my contribution to this album. Me and Magnus wrote the riffs, but I had the idea in my head before I wrote anything. I wanted something really intense that was around one minute and it was more for fun in the beginning, but the band loved this so much it ended up as the first track. I was sceptic at first because it was a more playful vibe compared to the more serious stuff but, in the end, I feel it really deserves a spot. Cool intro to the album.
All the other songs are composed the way we have always worked. People write stuff at home, then we mess around with it in the rehearsal room to make it even better as a unit. When we have enough songs, we start to think about making an album. We have so much influence coming into this band from all five people which makes the sound more interesting. We have no boundaries in this band. If it feels right, then we record it no matter if it’s a ballad or a one-minute grind song.
Victor Augusto: Which is the song that each of you most like from “Royal Destroyer” and why?
Johan Lindstrand: My personal favourite is “Let the hammering begin”. It has a classic vibe to it, but it still feels fresh. Great arrangements.
Marko Tervonen – Guitar: I think ‘Let The Hammering Begin’ is one bad mo-fo that contains all the elements a good song requires!!
Henrik Axelsson – Drums: ‘Scandinavian Satan’
Robin Sörqvist – Lead Guitar: Best on the album is the solo in ‘Full Metal Justice’. Energy, Thrash, shrimpsallad and a hard on!
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass: First riff of ‘Baptized In Violence’ is a highlight for me. Vintage Quorthon-style!
Victor Augusto: Despite Ever Metal being based in the UK, I am from Brazil and I know few people here who also like The Crown. How is the reaction of South American metalheads to The Crown? Do you think that one day you could tour here?
Johan Lindstrand: We really hope to get over to South America in the future. That would have been awesome. But I really don’t know how the status of The Crown is over there. Hopefully it’s good.
Victor Augusto: You have a DVD “14 Years of No Tomorrows” that has many good live performances from festivals and concerts you’ve played between 2000 and 2003, as well as bootlegs from the nineties. Do you have plans for new material from a live concert, perhaps with a documentary to discuss your long history?
Johan Lindstrand: We actually released a live show in 2015 on our YouTube channel. Pro-filmed and 90 minutes long. Other than that, we don’t have any plans to release more physical stuff like live DVD’s and documentaries. But who knows? It might happen in the future.
Victor Augusto: I can’t describe how happy I am to have talked to you. I really hope to see the band live someday, no matter where in the world. Please let us know your final words for the fans and the band’s plan for the future.
Johan Lindstrand: At the moment we are writing hard for our next album which probably will be out in 2023 and I hope that the world will go back to normal soon so we can go out and play for you all. Thanks for the support and thanks for the interview, Victor.
Cheers / Johan
The Crown – ‘Motordeath’ (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Johan Lindstrand – Vocals
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass
Marko Tervonen – Guitar
Robin Sörqvist – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Henrik Axelsson – Drums
The Crown – Royal Destroyer review
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.