Discovering Canada is really something. Apart from the stunning countryside, a generally more laid back atmosphere than down South and yonder the mighty border, neat cities and generally nice people, you will find a pretty good and very active #metal community. Power Metal outfits like Unleash the Archers, but also Demise of the Crown are part of this landscape. The latter just unleashed their self-titled and independent début album beginning of March 2016.
A bunch of seasoned musicians (..so they say), they formed back in 2014 in Montréal getting on the Power Metal train with the somewhat lofty aim and I quote – “…a band determined to shake the foundation of power metal.” Well, okay, there you go. That’s a base to work from.
So, Demise of the Crown has got goals. Will they live up to them?
Well, first of all it is indeed the maturity of this newly formed band that has got my attention straight away. Other Power Metal outfits want to grind you into the dust with a never-changing and hyper-fast type of #metal (because power has got to be fast, that’s why…), having some sort of screaming fits trying to reach ever higher notes. Now, Demise of the Crown really vary their tune and this makes a difference.
They cruise along so many different styles and flavors, happily splattered about the countryside that the purists will find it hard to classify the band easily into any of these many little boxes #metal is scattered into these days. This ‘don’t-give-a-shit’ attitude is more often than not a sign of pretty good quality of any of those bands displaying it. On top of that, they keep the cheese in check and to a reasonable level, whilst others in this genre try to smother you in fucking fondue or beat you to death with super-fast, but super repetitive song structures. Or both. And it is an odd collection of Avantasia-esque lines all of a sudden turning into screamed terrors seemingly coming from some long forgotten corner of former times Iron Maiden used to dwell in. With a touch of David Byron to boot for some of that. Then again we hear shouted lyrics usually known by one Marco Hietala that really keep you on your toes. And do I detect some Amorphis whispering somewhere backstage?
Those screams originate from the astonishing pipes of the lead singer Darren Beadman, really pulling this boat along the canal like a fucking mule on steroids. Pretty catchy guitar contribution too, covered by Manuel Iradian and Bruno Sayz weaving in and out from good into – sometimes – outstanding, plus some pretty serious riffing and soloing going on throughout the record. Throw in a few toppings to this Hard Rock infused #metal burrito consisting of some serious shredding and a few pretty good licks and you got the idea of the pretty sturdy guitar work prevalent on this disc. I liked the drum work of Kevy Metal (aka Kevin Alexander), but could not really judge on the bass provided by Dany Toxic. More to that next.
Now, on the mixing and mastering side some things went somewhat astray. The compression is pretty wild, rendering the album loud in a way that we are losing elements that should not be lost. Guitars are pretty clear, but then I almost lose the lyrics in some of that. Depending on what device I am listening to the record, Eons is waving around the countryside like some sort of maelström, just making me grow dizzy. Less pronounced on others, but still discernible. And then we seem to have lost the bass player – at least on my equipment I don’t detect it very well. And that is a pity – as far as I understand the band employed one. So, WTF!
Now, what have we got out of this jumble of styles?
With a 7 track record of roughly over 30 minutes of sound and just barely over the threshold for an EP, Demise of the Crown better be good. And generally the dish does not disappoint, but it is not all straight A’s neither.
At the start we have We are Invincible and it is at the front of the album for a reason. Raiding our ears with a style reminiscent of Van Halen (no kidding), it really gets the record going. Then some thrashy beginnings in Human Denial will for sure whet your appetite for more. This one is not bad at all – a refreshing track with some screams that could please Dani Filth and one of my favorites.
Okay, ready for some Maiden-isms in the lyrics delivery department? Open the curtains and in comes Save Me. The screams in this one really seem to step out of Eddie’s Best of former times. But then it is a bit difficult to decide if Dani Filth had some influence on that one too. By and large a very varied track, alternating screaming bouts with melodic passages and some serious riffing and soloing. Good one.
But then what? Well, the album does lose some steam in this second half. Worthy to be pointed out are Cold Dead Eyes – famous soloing on that one – and for sure the latest track Eons, getting the album to a fitting close. Kind of rocky and not too wild, nice melody.
Did Demise of the Crown really live up to its name and take the crown from the current Power Metal kings and queens without interregnum? Well, I do love the swagger and credo of these guys. For now they surely were able to rattle the foundations of Power Metal a little with their more thoughtful and less linear style. But let’s be clear: Currently they freely take from a large number of influences and quite skilfully weave this into their tune. But to really get to Power Metal stardom they need to kick it up a few notches and really display their own style. They however laid a very good foundation for exactly that purpose with this here record. I for sure enjoyed listening and reviewing this album. Good’un.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook
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