In 2020, Night Crowned burst onto the scene with the ferociousness of a wildfire. Their debut album ‘Impus Viam’ had it all: melodic black / death with hugely catchy riffs and hooks that attracted metalheads like a cold brew on a warm day (Black Bone Cross is just that). Now these Swedes aren’t entire newbies in the scene as the band members have played in Dark Funeral, Diabolical, Evocation, amongst others. Their previous experience might just be a contributing factor to their succes.
Fast forward one year. Like many others, the four piece used the pandemic to write and complete the sophomore record ‘Hädanfärd’, which was released on July 9. Night Crowned set the bar incredibly high with ‘Impus Viam’ and does this – seemingly fairly fast written – successor live up to those standards?
Opener Nattkrönt doesn’t leave a minute for hesitation. After an ominous opening melody, the listener is treated with an opening salvo of intense blasts, screams and heavy riffs. Noteable on this record is the use of more clean vocals, which gives the whole a more melancholic feel. Only 1.5 minutes in, Night Crowned bring in a melodic guitar lead which will comfortably live inside your ears for an undefined period of time, only to be pulverized by another wave of screams, blasts and riffs.
Second track Rex Tenebrae, while another heavy tune, also leans more on symphonic influences and gives a very clear nod to Dimmu Borgir (Death Cult Armegeddon era). If you weren’t convinced yet that Night Crowned delivered another monster of an album, Fjättrad might sway you with its dramatic atmosphere, heartfelt vocal delivery and again those damned captivating hooks and riffs.
Title track Hädanfärd gives the listener a moment to catch his / her breath from the blissful melodic aggressiveness. Overall, the second half of the record does not lessen in intensity. Whether its Människans Förfall, with folky rhythms and a severe Scandinavian melodeath vibe or album closer Enslingen, another stomp in your face just to make sure you’ll remember this, Night Crowned simply never weakens.
The one pitfall seems to be the length of the album (for yours truly). Just as with ‘Impus Viam’, there are so many things coming at you at once, that it takes a while to distinguish the tracks from one another, never sure if you’re midway through this incredible whirlwind or nearing the end. A cut of one or two songs might make the record as a whole more digestable, although it’s probably a crime to suggest to any musician.
With ‘Hädanfärd’, Night Crowned have delivered another very strong album on which they’ve found the perfect blend between melody, aggression, technical prowess and emotion. Add a strong nod to the Scandinavian metal heritage and overlords such as Dimmu Borgir, Dissection, Dark Funeral to that and you have the golden recipe for a melodic black / death metal album. It definitely makes me wonder what more the Swedes will have in store for us.
Release date: July 9, 2021
Label: Noble Demon
Written by: Laetitia
2. Rex Tenebrae
4. Ett Gravfäst öde
6. Gudars Skymning
7. Människans Förfall
8. Grått & ödelagt