CROWNE– “Kings in the North”
By Colonel Angus
Frontiers Music is the go-to label for a lot of great melodic heavy rock. Some of their releases are products of Serafino Perugino’s invention by bringing some of the best players together and having them record specifically for his label. I don’t know how many of them turn into touring entities but at the end of the day, good songs are good songs whether or not they perform live. This “supergroup” features Jona Tee from H.E.A.T. and John Levén who has a day job with the band EUROPE. The other players are unknown to me and while I’m not familiar with them, they certainly have more than enough talent to turn this debut into something more than potentially just a one-off.
The disk starts off promising with the title cut and, quite frankly, does not let up until the end. Each track is carefully crafted to be as melodic and catchy as possible with the end result being a disk full of quality melodic hard rock. The thing that caught my attention right away was the guitar riffs that laid this great foundation for the songs to build upon. “Sharoline”, “Unbreakable”, and “Make a Stand” are standouts in that department. I usually listen to disk many time before I write a review and with “Kings in the North”, I find myself picking different tracks as my favorite depending on the day. For a while it seemed like “Mad World” was going to be the clear favorite but with repeated listens, the title track, “Sum of All Fears”, and “Make a Stand” have risen to favorite level. My only complaint would be that I would have put the ballad “Save Me From Myself” somewhere in the middle of the record instead of putting it last. I think the album as a whole would have an ever so slightly better flow with that sequencing.
Aside from that little quibble, “Kings in the North” is a great, solid release from start to finish. None of this record is earth shatteringly unique but, damn it, it is great at what it is. My recommendation is that instead of always looking for the next “big thing”, just sit back and enjoy the soaring vocals of Alexander Strandell or the crunchy riffing of Jona Tee. Supergroups can be a tricky business but in this instance, it has worked out for Frontiers Music but more importantly, us music fans.