The Crown must be one of the most overlooked and underrated bands in the metal scene in general. Formed back in 1990 as The Crown of Thorns but in 1998 they took the name we know them for today. The band definitely has a sound of its own; a nearly invisible line between melodic death with a thrashing sound and punk attitude. 28 years later and their new album Cobra Speed Venom counts as one of their best efforts in their whole carrier. Bands their age rarely make such albums but these guys made something that most of the bands their age would be really jealous.
Metal Jacket Magazine had the distinct pleasure to see the guys who kicked ass during the Dark Circle Fest V. Conveniently there was a large storm before their set, but after we heard these guys, it felt like a breeze. So, after the storm, the singer Johan Lindstrand and I got in contact. Check out what we talked about below.
Greetings Johan, welcome to Metal Jacket Magazine! You did a fantastic show at the Dark Circle Fest. How was your experience? I bet the rainstorm was a good warm up for your performance.
Thanks, yeah that stormy weather was kinda intense and we truly felt that enormous power when we sat in the backstage tent. Very extreme, hehe. But we had a great time in Croatia for sure even though we’re not used to play that late. It was a good time.
Congratulations for your new album “Cobra Speed Venom”. It sounds great and rejuvenated. So, tell me, how was this recording different than your last album “Death is not Dead”?
It’s very different from DIND in the sense that we didn’t have a full lineup when we started to record the previous one so it was a kind of a turbulent time for us then. Marko did the drums and he’s a pretty decent drummer but he had to learn to play more in the vein of how people want The Crown to sound like but all in all it’s a messy album. Some good songs for sure but we didn’t approach the album as a band the way that we have done on Cobra. Now we have a very stable and strong lineup for the first time in years and you can really hear the band effort on the whole album. We worked our asses off and we had lots of fun doing it.
My first comparison with the album was that it sounds like an older, more mature brother to “Deathrace King”, then I realized that you recorded in the same studio Fredman. Did you had that intention?
A lot of people say it reminds them of Deathrace and I can understand that. We have definitely brought back the intensity that I believe was kind of lost, and the punkier rock ‘n roll attitude which I think fits us very well. But it feels much more controlled than Deathrace. A better flow in my opinion. And the sound is more massive so we are very pleased that we went back to Fredman and Fredrik did a great job. We will definitely go back to him.
Let’s go back a bit, The Crown reunited back in 2009 but with the different singer and you got back in 2011. How did you guys got back to together?
In 2009 i was asked to rejoin but then i was in the middle of releasing a new album with One Man Army so i didn’t wanna do it. I’m not the man that wants to be in several bands. And then in 2011 Marko asked me again and at that time I was very tired of doing One man army so I ended the band and came back to The Crown. A thing I don’t regret today but damn, time flies dude. It feels like an eternity since I came back.
You are one of the very few bands that successfully combined a more melodic death, thrash metal with a punk attitude, so we can definitely say that you have your own sound. Was that the idea from the beginning or that happened along the way?
That sound was developed over many years. In the beginning we were mostly inspired by the classic death metal bands from Florida even if we put in some melodic stuff in the mixture but the true Crown sound didn’t come until Hell is here was written. Then we knew we had something special to offer.
The band walks a fine line with very cool and tongue-in-cheek songs and album titles like your new album or “Deathrace King”, “Blitzkrieg Witchcraft”, “Total Satan” etc. Do you write these lyrics or it’s a band effort?
Titles are very important. Almost more important than the lyrics itself. If you have a lame title people will not be as interested from the start compared to if the title gives you goosebumps if you know what I mean. Over the years Magnus has done most of the lyrics but we try to help out as a band as much as possible. For example, on Cobra we have for the first time four people writing lyrics so we work even more as a band now than we ever have done before so it’s great.
What made you pick up the microphone? Is there some vocalist that made you think: “I wanna do that”?
When we first started out back in 1990 we could hardly do anything with our instruments. And I could easily have become a guitar player instead of a singer but pure coincidence made me the vocalist when all other spots in the band were already taken. But early on I had my favorites such as David Vincent and Chuck Schuldiner. Also early Glen Benton was a huge inspiration.
You have new members, Robin on guitars and Henrik on drums. How did you get them and what happened to the old members?
Marcus got fired in 2012 and Janne left in 2013. Not necessary to go into further details. But of course it’s hard for a band to lose half of its members all of a sudden. Especially when they have been around for so long. But we have been very very fortunate to have found these great replacements. The friendship with Robin goes way back to the early 90’s because he played with Impious who were close friends to us so when troubles with Marcus started he stepped in and helped out and was asked to join on full time in the beginning of 2013. Marko knew Henrik from his time in Angel Blake where Henrik did a couple of shows behind the kit. And when Janne left Marko knew that this guy can give justice to The Crown sound and we tried him out on a successful show in Gothenburg 2015 and after that we had our new lineup. These 2 guys fit perfectly in the band. They work hard, they are asskickers at what they do, they are loyal and last but not least, they are great friends.
What does the future hold for The Crown after the Japan gigs?
We have a festival in Sweden in November and then we will head out on a small 7 day European tour in December so there are definitely fun moments awaiting around the corner.