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Crowne: Operation Phoenix
Crowne - Operation Phoenix Album Art

Crowne: Operation Phoenix

Melodic Metal Rock
5.0/5.0

Only two years ago, Swedish band Crowne hit the ground running with their superb debut album, Kings Of The North. The band, started by keyboardist/producer Jona Tee (H.E.A.T.), also features stalwarts from Sweden's rock and metal underground: vocalist Alexander Strandell (Art Nation), bassist John Levén (Europe), and drummer Christian Lundqvist (The Poodles). For their debut album Crowne enlisted Dynazty guitarist Love Magnusson for the guitar solos. For their sophomore effort, Operation Phoenix, Magnusson is now a permanent member of the band.

Crowne Click For Larger Image

Crowne

To catch up, Crowne offers fans classic melodic metal rock with the punch of rock groove, all wrapped up in AOR accessibility. The songs have the heaviness of metal, notably in the driving rhythm section, yet also the twin guitar harmony and guitar solos. Magnusson's guitar solos are simply terrific: astonishing and soaring. If you're a fan of lead guitar as I am, you will love this album.

But these same elements invoke the hard rock groove. Levin and Lundquist are literally joined at the hip, delivering powerful and determined backbeat rhythm. Then there's the essentials of song melody and harmony, vocal harmony, and strong gang-driven refrains which both temper the heaviness and prime the AOR groove. Tee's keyboards add the final layer, an accent and addition that makes the songs both lush and dense It's the perfect storm in melodic metal song arrangements, the songs being hard, heavy, somtimes speedy, even quite bombastic, yet immensely listeneable and entertaining. This is music that can move you, make you want to tap your toe or pump your fist in the air. It's that exceptional.



Speaking to the songs, they're all fantastic. Pardon the cliches. It's all killer with no filler. There's not a runt in the litter. The album flows with the consistency you would expect from strong songwriting and committed musicianship. In this light, if I could make a comparison, this album reminds me of another classic contemporary Swedish band and album: Treat's Coup de Grace, released nearly 13 years ago.

Also, because of this consistency, it's nearly impossible to pick favorites. But if I did, the choices would include Ready To Run, Juliette, Operation Phoenix, and Just Believe. That last song, of all them, puts the "metal" into Crowne's melodic metal rock. Yet the refrain tempers, ever so slightly, the songs heaviness. While many songs have some haste, Victorious and In The Name Of The Fallen come close to power metal gallop.

All said, Crowne's second effort, Operation Phoenix, is simply fandamntastic. An album of finely crafted, powerful, and entertaining melodic metal rock which any fan of the same will love. Quite recommended.



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The Take Away

Crowne's second effort, Operation Phoenix, is simply fandamntastic. An album of finely crafted, powerful, and entertaining melodic metal rock which any fan of the same will love. Quite recommended.

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