"Crowned in Terror," the last album from this Swedish death metal behemoth, was wildly praised, due mainly to the fact that longtime Crown vocalist Johan Lindstrand was replaced by the legendarily obnoxious Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, Disfear). "Terror" was actually a bit of a disappointment, suffering from a lack of focus that could easily be ascribed to Lindberg's wild-man ways. Accordingly, he was dismissed, to be replaced by -- who else? -- original vocalist Lindstrand. Thankfully, Possessed 13 takes up cleanly where 2000's immensely powerful "Deathrace King" (Lindstrand's last album as vocalist) left off. As the heirs apparent to Slayer's throne, The Crown provide a feast of meaty riffs and gut-churning double-bass speed that evokes the best that metal has to offer. Even a doom-and-gloom instrumental like "Dream Bloody Hell" is evocative in its sludge. Plus, when it gives way to the thrashing and wailing "Morningstar Rising" -- which, by the way, is not about vegetarian chicken wings -- it all makes a little more sense. Although The Crown's classic approach doesn't add a whole lot to the vocabulary, an album as rewarding and strong as Possessed 13 certainly makes the case for staying the course.
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