Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory

Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory

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Crimson Glory- Crimson Glory (monumentum)

(1986, Par Records)

When this album originally came out in 1986, it certainly marked something different going on in the US Metal scene. Up to that point it was more of a savagery thing going on in Metal music with warrior and battlefield themes and no clear room for soaring melodies and ‘progressive’ - not Prog -  songwriting (omitting early QUEENSRŸCHE, maybe and a little bit of SAVATAGE and their “Power Of The Night” album). In the years to follow, CRIMSON GLORY released a much more respected album called “Transcendence” whose equivalent quality is undisputable, but I prefer to present the 1986 debut here mainly do to its shocking profile back in those times.

The original name of the band was BEOWULF and the masks were covering all of the members’ faces the first time they appeared onstage. The first record contract came from the independent American label Par Records (had released the first issue of SAVATAGE’s “Sirens” with the ship cover) but soon enough Roadrunner Records grabbed the band from Florida and issued the LP for a worldwide release. Needless to say, the Metal world was at first suspicious with these masked men and the weird logo lettering, not of course even mentioning the shock when it came to the music and lyrics side...

Singer Midnight (real name: John Patrick McDonald) was the last to join the CRIMSON GLORY camp in the mid-80s but became the first real weapon of destruction for the band’s fame to the masses. His mystique profile brought a lot of assumptions regarding his personality, some thought supported by the extraordinary style his was singing. High-pitched and still lyrical and melodic was not something the Metal scene was used to till then (again omitting some of Geoff Tate’s charisma). His voice in this debut album sounds so clear and steel-clad that you can’t escape but feel the awe listening to his siren performance in songs like… all of them. With a basic influence from LED ZEPPELIN’s Robert Plant but also a psychedelic yet pure metallic timbre, Midnight gave the songs much more than an extra push and fore years after - no YouTube days, remember? - there was much of discuss whether he could maintain the same level in the band’s gigs.

But what about the music, really? Well, that was something equally enchanting too. The guitar leads were widespread with some perfect production making you travel in space and time, tons of romantic yet metallic inspiration and some traditional Metal rhythm parts ensuring you would not shake your head in boredom, not for a single minute. Again, if QUEENSRŸCHE were already too sophisticated and early FATES WARNING focused a lot on the harmonies’ inner message, it was CRIMSON GLORY making you simultaneously feel like a warrior, a tender writer, a romantic poet, a lonely rider…various feelings in one line, really. Powerful bridges exchanged with mild intros and intermezzos were something that dedicated old-school metalheads could accept only from CRIMSON GLORY in the years to come. And as for the lyrics: myths, landscapes, emotions and the whole heavy/epic Metal thematology of the glorious 80s years transcribed (and of course sung) in a unique way...

To the myth of their debut album, CRIMSON GLORY - as said - released an even more avid and dark follow up and then lineup changes and the crucial turn of Metal music tactics in general left the band unbalanced in its new directions. Now, a quarter of a century after its first breakout, and with Midnight long gone into eternity, CRIMSON GLORY have a new vocalist and hindsight and are ready to remind us of what perfection meant in US Metal music years ago. Some things never fade away, hence “Crimson Glory” still sounds fresh and tempting, everlasting and eternal. Dammit, this band deserves to be memorized for ever and ever…


Tracklist

01.  Valhalla
02.  Dragon Lady
03.  Heart Of Steel
04.  Azrael
05.  Mayday
06.  Queen Of The Masquerade
07.  Angels Of War
08.  Lost Reflection


Lineup

Midnight - Vocals
Jon Drenning - Lead Guitar
Ben Jackson - Rhythm Guitar
Jeff Lords - Bass
Dana Burnell - Drums