Viking Crown

Banished Rhythmic Hate

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Can an album be both terrible and charming at the same time? Of course it can -- just check out the Phil Anselmo side project Viking Crown. Recorded by Anselmo's diverse group of friends in the metal underground, this album is an indulgent exercise that manages to overcome its problems through sheer passion. The driving force behind the entire project is a love of black metal, a creepy mix of speed metal's dynamics and goth rock's atmosphere. So the bandmembers created a black metal album that they would want to listen to, complete with poorly produced thrash numbers and keyboard-driven dirges that vary wildly in sound quality. Although the album is essentially a cut-and-paste collection of evil-sounding jams, there is an underlying affection underneath the whole mess that shines through the performances. These musicians are truly enjoying making this music, and as a result it is filled with experimental flourishes that greatly enhance the weak songwriting and awful production. Viking Crown isn't giving Dimmu Borgir a run for its money, but Anselmo completists can take comfort in the fact that Viking Crown at least tries a little bit.

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