Discovering Canada is really something. Apart from the stunning countryside, Canadians display a generally more laid-back atmosphere than down South. Especially yonder the mighty border, if you get my drift. 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 debut album beginning of March 2016.
A bunch of seasoned musicians1), 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. But – 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 Metal has got to be fast, that’s why. And most go about that with some sort of screaming fits trying to reach ever higher notes. Now, this band really varies its tune – and this makes a difference.
They cruise along so many different styles and flavors, happily splattered about the soundscape that the purists will find it hard to classify the band easily into any of these many little boxes that metal is scattered into these days.
This ‘don’t-give-a-shit’ attitude is more often than not a sign of pretty good quality, though. On top of that, they keep the cheese at 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.
Demise the Crown gets you 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. Then again we hear shouted lyrics usually known by one Marco Hietala that really keep you on your toes.
Those screams originate from the astonishing pipes of the lead singer Darren Beadman. He really pulls this boat along the canal like a fucking mule on steroids. The track contains some pretty catchy guitar contributions, too. Covered by Manuel Iradian and Bruno Sayz who weave in and out from good into – sometimes – outstanding, riffs and solos all in one.
Throw in a few toppings to this metal burrito consisting of more 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 the bass job provided by one Dany Toxic.
Because we seem to have lost the bass player. At least on my equipment, he seems scarcely alive. And that is a pity. As far as I understand, the band employed one. So, where art thou?
Now, on the mixing and mastering side, some things went somewhat astray. The compression is pretty wild. And that renders the album loud with even more elements lost in the fray than ‘only’ the bass. Guitars are pretty clear, though. But then the lyrics almost lose themselves in the mix.
Now, what have we got out of this jumble of styles?
With a record just barely over the length threshold for an EP, Demise of the Crown better be good. But it is not all great grades either.
We are Invincible is at the front of the album for a reason2). 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 trve metal screams.
Okay, are you ready for some Maiden-isms in the lyrics delivery department? Up the curtains, and in comes Save Me. The screams in this one really seem to step out of Eddie’s Best of former times. By and large, a very varied track, alternating screaming bouts with melodic passages and some serious riffing and soloing.
But then what?
Well, the album does lose some steam in this second half. Worthy to be pointed out are Cold Dead Eyes with some famous soloing on that one. And for sure the latest track Eons, which brings the album to a great close. Kind of rocky and not too wild, nice melody.
Did Demise of the Crown really live up to its name and take on the current Power Metal kings and queens?
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. Yet, the band’s offering somewhat deviates from their messaging.
If Power Metal is their wont, then this is what they should do. Instead, they heavily trespass on territory Heavy Metal was before. So much so that I sometimes wondered where this record was headed.
So, to really get to Power Metal stardom, they need to kick it up a few notches and truly display their own style. In other words, what we got is a very good foundation. With a lot of air upward for future records to come.
Record Rating: 5/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook
Release date: 4 March 2016