When the nightmares ensue,
all that you can do is
paint the sky another brighter
shade of blue....
Ok, its 2018. The 30th anniversary of one of the greatest and most under rated albums from one of the greatest and most under rated metal bands of all time...Possibly THE most under rated. Of course, I'm talking about Crimson Glory and Transcendence. I've seen several other bloggers review it, so I figured I might as well too. Crimson Glory is one of my all time favorite bands, and Midnight is my all time favorite singer.
I remember the first time I heard them. They had released a self titled debut album, but I hadn't heard anything off it. A friend of mine was wearing a Crimson Glory T-Shirt, and I asked him who they were. He told me to come sit in his car. The tape was already in his player, and he had been wearing it out. The song, Painted Skies was just ending, and Masque of the Red Death was about to begin. When the abrupt punch of that song's intro blasted through the speakers, I was blown away. I loved the sleek and sharp blistering guitar leads of Jon Drenning, as they made way for Midnight's opening vocals. "The pain lingers on beyond these castle walls...The red death is taking them all...While the king and his court dance the night away at the masquerade..The hour of Midnight grows near..." I had goosebumps. I asked him to rewind it, but he said no, and played Eternal World. My reaction? Astonishment. Speed metal never sounded so good, and Midnight's vocal range was something I had never heard before. I told him not to play anymore, and later that day, I went and bought a copy of my own.
That album is a slam dunk. There's not a bad song on it, and if the Metal Gods had smiled on Crimson Glory, Painted Skies would have been (recognized in the mainstream as) one of the greatest metal ballads of all time. Same with Burning Bridges, but that song is more epic in length and content, and wouldn't have been given radio play unless they chopped it up and shortened it which would have been a crime.
You've heard people rant and rave about the production quality of Metallica's Black album or Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood? This album deserves to be in the discussion as the best. For example, I've honestly never heard drums sound like that before. They sound raw and live, yet also sound like they were done in the studio. You can also clearly hear the cymbals on this album, which is something that I can't recall where I've heard them in other songs. And of course the guitars and bass. You hear one lick from this album, and you'll know its them. Lots of work and money went into the making of this masterpiece.
Transcendence literally has everything that was popular at the time. Commercial appeal (although it was never a cheesy love ballad) in Lonely and Painted Skies, speed metal in Eternal World and Masque of the Red Death, a blast of thrash metal in Red Sharks (another stratosphere piercing offering from Midnight) Gothic metal with Where Dragons Rule (I'm sure there's a D&D dungeon master somewhere who plays that song each time his group starts a session) Power metal in Lady of Winter, and slow and creeping haunting metal with In Dark Places. And last but not least, an acoustic creepy feeling title track that made me feel like I was being watched the first time I heard it. This band literally put the metal world on notice with this album that they could do anything, and rule at it.
Unfortunately, we all know what happened next. The band signed with Atlantic Records, who put out a lackluster album, Strange and Beautiful that failed miserably to live up to its predecessor, in terms of song quality, and production. Midnight left, and singer Wade Black, an extremely gifted singer joined to release the album, Astronomica. While better than Strange and Beautiful, it also failed to live up to Transcendence, and Black was eventually replaced with Todd La Torre, who is honestly the only singer I've heard that can capture every vocal nuance of Midnight's voice, and do the songs their well deserved justice. Unfortunately, the band wasn't ready to work, so La Torre left them to do the same for Queensryche. He's successfully replaced not one, but TWO metal legends. There's nobody else who can say that. Anywhere.
|Todd LaTorre with Crimson Glory|
So, give this album a listen if you haven't heard it. You'll thank me. And, if you have heard it, give it another listen. Tell a friend about them. I've told quite a few people who hadn't heard them about them, and their reaction was similar to mine. One guy just shook his head, and said "Its a damn shame that nobody knows this incredible band. Nobody knows the bass player's or the drummer or guitarists name." I replied "You do now, and so do all of their fans, and their cult fanbase keeps growing."
|Jeff Lords, Jon Drenning, Midnight, Ben Jackson, Dana Burnell|
That's all I got for now. Writing this took my mind off this damn flu for an hour or so. Until next time, turn it up to 11!