Hailing from Portland, Oregon come Dead Crown, a quartet comprised of Vocalist Kendall Johns, Guitarist Eric Gemme, Bassist Brent Sheffield and Drummer Bryton Wilson with a reputation for making groove laden Deathcore. Their debut EP “Come Hell” was released in April and with the band members being seasoned pros with Johns being ex-We Rise the Tides, Gemme & Sheffield having been (or possibly still) in Paragon. So what does the new band sound like?
The six tracks, spanning 22 minutes combine a fusion of Nu-Deathcore, Nu-Metal and Metalcore with buried electronics and turntable action a plenty, often reminding of the likes of Detroit’s Gift Giver and Queens, New York’s Emmure. The EP starts off with Jesse Ketive inspired layered guitars on “South Side” which have that heavy bounce on the rhythm while under laying with more atmospheric tones. Kendall Johns delivers a varied vocal that mixes rap screams with spoken word raps and Deathcore guttural uncleans, “The Seven” introduces the turntable action over the top of heavy, tech-influenced guitars and during the first verse you could be mistaken for thinking you were listening to Frankie Palmeri vocals. The frequent use of tempo changes and rise and fall dynamic within the groove laden chugging guitars keeps things fresh and moving while giving plenty to headbang to. “Black Sheep” dials back the guitars during the opening vocal battering, keeping things restrained for the first quarter before breaking out into some driven bouncy riffage and pounding footwork from Bryton Wilson, the sticksman being the only member of the band having no previous scene experience. Dialling back the guitars for a buried electronic bridge before the breakdowns come piling back in to close gives the later part of the track a big lift.
Guitar squeals underpinned by electronica set a dark toned atmosphere before the heavier vocals and guitars of “Dethrone” kick in. It’s very much another vocal versatility showcase track as Kendall Johns continues to give Frankie Palmeri a run for his money. Even the lyrical content of “Dethrone” could be considered Emmure inspired, though it has plenty of offer genre fans. “Home” brings back the turntable action in the chorus but is dialled back to allow the huge variety of chugging rhythm guitars the stage. Lyrically this one has very little in the way of depth, it’s about a girl or girls that Johns is interested in as he rap screams about having been around the block, but it’s fine as the rest of the band bring the energy with the music. “I Am God” keeps things going in a similar vein with an eerie, off kilter melody and faded vocal pattern overlays before a speech sample and suitably heavy closing breakdown. While the band have made a great start with “Come Hell”, now they need to differentiate themselves from the competition. There are other bands who are doing what Dead Crown are doing and while “Come Hell” is a polished, slickly produced version, it’s not breaking any new ground. There is plenty to mosh to and enjoy across the 22 minutes of the EP, it’s just really obvious that the band need to expand their horizons [6.5/10]
“I Am God”
“Come Hell” by Dead Crown is available over at iTunes.