Interview with The Crown

Royal Destroyer Album Cover Art

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)

LINE-UP:
Johan Lindstrand – Vocals
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass
Marko Tervonen – Guitar
Robin Sörqvist – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Henrik Axelsson – Drums

LINKS:

The Crown – Royal Destroyer review

The Crown Promo Pic

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.

Victor’s Top 10 Releases of 2021

Victor’s Top 10 Releases Of 2021
by Victor Augusto

It’s that time of year again, where we reminisce about the days gone by, and the music we have heard. Here are Victor’s picks of the best, along with some special mentions. Have a run through his countdown to find out what his number 1 album of the year is.

10 – Gojira – “Fortitude”

Gojira - Fortitude Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/GojiraMusic

09 – Exodus – “Persona Non Grata”

Exodus – "Persona Non Grata" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

08 – Hate – “Rugia”

Hate – "Rugia" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/HATEOFFICIAL

07 – Gravehuffer – “NecroEclosion”

Gravehuffer – "NecroEclosion" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/gravehuffer

06 – Venomous – “Tribus”

Venomous – "Tribus" EP Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/venomousoficial/

05 – Infrared – “From the Black Swamp”

Infrared - "From the Black Swamp" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/infraredmetal

04 – Sepultura – “SepulQuarta”

Sepultura – "SepulQuarta" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/sepultura

03 – The Crown – “Royal Destroyer”

The Crown - "Royal Destroyer" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/thecrownofficial

02 – At The Gates – “The Nightmare Of Being”

02 – At The Gates - "The Nightmare Of Being" Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/AtTheGatesOfficial

01 – 1914 – “Where Fear And Weapons Meet”

Where Fear And Weapons Meet Album  Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/1914band

Special mentions to:
Raphael Olmos – “Make Riff, Not War”
Crypta – “Echoes Of The Soul”
Nervosa – “Perpetual Chaos”

Read Victor’s reviews for some of these great albums here:

Disclaimer: This review 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.

The Crown – Royal Destroyer

Royal Destroyer Album Cover Art

The Crown – Royal Destroyer
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 45:45
Review by Victor Augusto
10/10

Ok, before I start my smooth talk, 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. If you have already read my EMQ’s as an Ever Metal team member (if not, you can read it after this review, https://evermetal.wpcomstaging.com/2020/07/14/emqs-with-victor-augusto/), you will understand how my brother has a peculiar way of insisting you listen to music. 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. What a brilliant memory.

I really struggled to follow the band’s career, after the year of 2000, because 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. I could not believe that someday I would be able to review The Crown and it is even better considering “Royal Destroyer” is one of the band’s best albums, maybe ‘the best’, who knows? So, let’s get to the review itself.

“What is happening, Victor?”. Those were my wife’s, scared, words after I screamed a concise and loud “Holy Shit!”. Yes, it happened while I was listening to the pure destruction of the opening track ‘Baptized In Violence‘. What a killer way to open an album with its extreme Hardcore mixed with Death Metal that is The Crown’s trademark. The best thing is that ‘Let the Hammering Begin!’ and ‘Motordeath’ maintain the violence that keeps your level of adrenaline extremely high. This last one has fast guitar picks on the initial riff. Again, I could not believe that I was listening to so many insane tracks. Moreover, it doesn’t stop there.

For sure, I thought that the upcoming songs would be not as strong as the first four. Even classic albums usually have one or two tracks that are just filler to complete the set list, but with “Royal Destoyer”…bloody hell no! The only change here is the speed which becomes more cadenced, but all the tracks are pretty insane. ‘Glorious Hades’ shows the more melodic side of The Crown, without losing the heaviness. ‘Full Metal Justice’ explores their thrash metal elements more and has beautiful double kicks and fast drum fills. I loved how ‘Devoid Of Light’ brings a Morbid Angel spirit to The Crown’s identity. Everything ends with a good atmosphere on ‘Beyond The Frail’ and I could not believe what I had just heard. If my brother were with me, we would probably react like teenagers, exactly how we did 20 years ago.

Founder member Marko Tervonen is an absolute riff machine and his (not so) new partner in crime Robin Sörqvist’s guitar work makes everything more remarkable with all his solos. There is also a great chemistry between drummer Henrik Axelsson and bassist Magnus Olsfelt, another founding member. The versatility of Henrik to play fast styles, that change from Hardcore to the most brutal Death Metal, is very well complemented by the powerful bass of Magnus, as you can hear on ‘Ultra Faust’. Of course, vocalist Johan Lindstrand is also a fundamental member of the band, having been there since the beginning, when they were still called Crown of Thorns, during the nineties.

The Crown are masters of mixing their Death Metal with a lot of Thrash Metal and also a little Punk therefore their fans will know what to expect, however, this time they have utterly stamped their identity and made their music even stronger. I couldn’t imagine being able to review an album so strong that it surpasses their two masterpiece albums “Deathrace King” and “Crowned In Terror”. My first thought after hearing “Royal Destroyer” for the first time was “There is not one, single song that is bad on this album”.

If you are a fan of The Crown, you will probably know that they are one of the biggest names to have made the Swedish Metal scene famous around the world. You will also know all the ups and the few downs that the band have overcome. This line-up has basically stayed the same since “Death Is Not Dead” (2015) and their last album “Cobra Speed Venom” (2018) received a response that a legendary band deserves. As a result of all the touring from the previous album and a stable line-up, we now have “Royal Destroyer”.

It is an album made up of 100% amazing songs! It shows the experienced band we already know, but with an intense energy as if they are young and ready to conquer the world! As a reviewer, it is a pleasure to review such an amazing piece of work. As a fan, I have the same feeling listening to “Royal Destroyer” that I had when I was a young boy, back in 2002, adding in a mix of feelings from everything that I have learnt from that period until today. I am also proud to see such an important band continuing to thrive in the Worldwide Metal scene.

Grattis till Sveriges bästa band!

‘Motordeath’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Baptized In Violence
02. Let The Hammering Begin!
03. Motordeath
04. Ultra Faust
05. Glorious Hades
06. Full Metal Justice
07. Scandinavian Satan
08. Devoid Of Light
09. We Drift On
10. Beyond The Frail

LINE-UP:
Johan Lindstrand – Vocals
Magnus Olsfelt – Bass
Marko Tervonen – Guitar
Robin Sörqvist – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Henrik Axelsson – Drums

LINKS:

The Crown Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review 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.