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THE CROWN - Cobra Speed Venom

Release date March 16/18 (Metal Blade)

For me, the crowning achievement (ar, ar) of this Swedish unit's career to date was the Deathrace King album and, specifically, the 'Deathexplosion' and 'Blitzkrieg Witchcraft' song duo. Those two tracks are still amongst my favorite death/thrash songs of all time. Intense beyond belief, it is the raging speed that makes them stand out from the competition. The band have spent 18 long years since, trying to match its standard ... until now.

Cobra Speed Venom finds The Crown once again embracing the 'need-for-speed', fully 9 (of 13) tracks being deranged speedsters careening all over the place. Johan Lindstrand remains at the mic for his second album since returning to the fold, gruffly barking out the tales of violence violently. Loads of melodic guitar work are then added on top, with a liberal dose of Slayer-esque rhythmic sections sprinkled in here and there.

While there aren't any specific tracks that match the audacity of the Deathrace highlights, fans can take solace in the fact that that there are a large number of high quality tracks littered throughout this latest platter. Also love the inclusion of a slow march instrumental ('Where My Grave Shall Stand') near the tail end, acting as a quick respite from the all-out speed assault. A very welcome return to form.

[7.5]

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