Now that many have ditched aggression and brutality in favour of melody and atmosphere, only a chosen few are able to deliver those old attributes in a credible manner. Crown of Thorns are one of the chosen few and given the release of their second full-length, aptly titled "Eternal Death", an interview with the band was definitely in order! Marcus Sunesson (g) and Marko Tervonen (g) (where indicated) supplied the answers. The line-up is completed by Janne Saarenpää (d), Magnus Olsfelt (b) and Johan Lindstrand (v)...
(A small excerpt from the interview featured in full on Dark Oath #6)
You have recently released your second album, "Eternal Death". Could you tell us a bit more about the title chosen as it seems to have a special meaning to you?
You could say that the title first of all explains what our music is all about, DEATH METAL 100%. Then the lyrical side..., and a cover with Jesus Christ being crucified. Christian religion (and many other religions) always talk about that we will live forever. You know, eternal life, but we decided to use the crucifixion symbol for what we believe and that is that when we die, we die. Eternal Death...
As for death itself, what do you make of it? Is it really the 'end' or do you think there's something beyond?
I think that all that 'after death' talk is just crap. The journey after death ends up six feet under, if you know what I mean.
You have dedicated 'The Black Heart' to Dead, could you tell us a bit more about this song, how did the idea for it came up? What was your relationship with Dead?
Magnus I'm very proud to dedicate this song to one of the sickest and most dedicated Black/Death maniacs ever. Although I never got a chance to meet him, I'm totally fascinated by his cruel voice and grim appearance in his pictures and interviews. And after all, the chorus is taken from the goat himself - 'Only black is true, only black is real...'. It does really gives you shivers when you hear him scream it in his totally obsessed style! Great!
Although you are mainly a Death Metal band, one can notice in your music traces which are also common to Black Metal. Do you feel influenced by the genre and do you see yourselves exploring this sort of stuff further on?
Well, you could say that we are influenced by all Metal styles. And when I say Metal, I mean Metal, not any Hardcore Metalrap shit. Of course we try to explore some new territories and push the music to the max. But what the hell... Does Black Metal sound like Black Metal used to sound and does Death Metal sound like Death Metal used to sound? Nowadays it seems like the line between Death and Black has been erased. Good music is good music and not what it has been categorized as.
The song writing in CoT is pretty much evenly distributed between Magnus and yourself, with a few exceptions. Do you both have similar ideas when it comes to composing? How would you say that the 5 people involved in the band combine in shaping its personality, which characteristic of CoT belongs to who?
Damn good question! I guess we all have our own way of handling our instruments. A kind of personal touch... As for the music writing... Me and Magnus have really different styles in the songs. I'm more into the melodic vs. brutality kind of songs and Magnus is into aggressive, brutal, intense kind of songs. When you listen to the 52 min. on "Eternal Death" you never feel that the songs sound similar to each other.
For CoT, who are basically a straight Death Metal band, do you feel the experimentation that other bands of the genre have done to be important for its development and exposure?
There will always be bands that take that extra step and become 'trendmakers', like Deicide, At the Gates, Entombed, Death, Bathory, Kreator, Paradise Lost, etc. Those bands' first couple of records have made a great impact in the Metal scene.
Crown of Thorns "Eternal Death"
CD 1997 Black Sun Records 10 songs, 52'
Crown of Thorns' debut "The Burning" left them with big shoes to fill for their forthcoming releases... The first thing you're gonna notice about "Eternal Death" is that the drums are much louder, perhaps even too loud at times, and quite likely also a bit faster. The intensity and aggression is pretty much the same in Crown of Thorns blasting Death, where the infusion of the typical Swedish dual-guitar harmonics and solos add a melodic and refreshing breath. It also seems that they have been playing some old records, since the melodies on "Eternal Death" often taste like the ones of elder Metal acts on occasion, as do one or two of the tricks they use as well (breaks and those loud song finales, for instance); this came to replace much of the Deicide/Morbid Angel influences that you would find on "The Burning", but has not taken away any of the heaviness or brutality. 'The Black Heart', who the band have dedicated to Dead, sees them crossing further into Black Metal grounds, of which there are hints in a few other moments of the disc as well. Order from Black Sun Records Box 129 SE - 401 22 GÖTEBURG Sweden.