Thursday, 7 September 2017

Crimson Glory "Transcendence" (1988)


I fancied getting a little "old skool" with my Metal music and browsing through some online top lists this 1988 "classic" caught my attention, primarily for being labeled Progressive Metal at i wasn't to familiar with the genres roots bar Dream Theater who would drop their first album a year later. Crimson Glory are a five piece outfit from Florida who are still active despite not releasing any new material in this millennium. Id personally describe them as a traditional Heavy Metal and Power Metal hybrid however the influences of Progressive Rock are unmistakable, there is a clear elevation in song structure with time signatures and intricacies to ponder on throughout. Poised at a time where Thrash and Death Metal were starting to drastically change the identity and sound of the genre, Crimson hold onto the traditions but expand them with musical dexterity.

Transcendence isn't an album Ive dove to deep into but its lyrics portray fantasy themes of mythical beasts, lands of eternal season and dramatized figures of monarchical rule. Singer "Midnight" flexes these lyrics between a traditional range and the ear piercing wails of high pitched power done as good as the greats like Rob Halford of Judas Priest and Kind Diamond. On "Red Sharks" however the tone shifts to paranoid themes of communist threats in the mist! Sticks out like a sore thumb against the rest but doesn't detract from the fun music.

My vocabulary for describing these traditional Heavy Metal style songs is limited but what I can point to is the craft in song writing that guides the prowl and patrol verses into journeys with fantastic breaks for illuminating guitar solos that crescendo outbursts of color as acoustic chords chime with bright lead guitars and the rock solid rhythm guitar. These are the moments that the transcendence occurs, separating them from the likes of Dio and others in that genre. In other moments the band make great use of synths that might sound a little cheesy given the tone and age but they are executed without gimmick at fit snugly into the songs where they crop up. The drums have a big stadium feel, fit for the stage with plenty of gated reverb on the toms, very 80s. The bass guitar is mixed well, you can hear it often mirroring the guitars with little deviations and inflections.

All the components here add up to a terrific record that given its decade is certainly a gem, just not one too my taste. This form of Metal doesn't resonate strongly with me and without an emotional attachment much of its sparkle becomes more appreciative than impacting. It in no way turned me off though, in fact I think with more repetition it could grow on me. For now I will shelve this one for a rainy day, I'm sure the absence will give these songs new meaning when they return.

Favorite Songs: Masque Of The Red Death, In Dark Places, Burning Bridges
Rating: 6/10

2 comments:

  1. I love this album! Masque of the red death is my fav :D

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