Crimson Glory

Spitfire Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Sometimes, I just don't get it. It doesn't matter how many times I listen to an album, I'm left there scratching my head, wondering why something doesn't move me.

In the case of Crimson Glory, after listening to their new disc about 10 times, I wondered why this band continued to work in some of the stereotypes that made up metal in the '80s and early '90s. The screeching, high pitched wails that passed for vocals on their latest disc, Astronomica, brought back memories of late, lamented bands like TT Quick. Oh, sure, they undoubtedly delighted me when I was 15, but now this shrieking sounds out of place, and Crimson Glory is left sounding more like a retro act rather than a modern, progressive metal band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It's not that Crimson Glory - vocalist Wade Black, guitarists Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson, bassist Jeff Lords and drummer Steve Wacholz -- don't try to be cutting edge. Tracks like "Cydonia," "Edge Of Forever" and even the title track all show signs that this band is trying to move metal into the future without delving too much into the Rush wanna-be motif. Musically, the band is pretty solid, though I would have preferred to hear a little more bass crunch in the final mix.

But far too often, Black takes his vocals to the hystrionic range, making the band sound like they're trying in vain to recapture the glories of days and bands past. One word, lads: moderation. When the technique is used sparingly, as on tracks like "Lucifer's Hammer," it's not so bad. But when it becomes a centerpiece of a song, as on "War Of The Worlds" and "New World Machine," the effect gets real annoying, real quick. Even on a song like "Cyber-Christ," the overall theme of the track gets lost in so much shouting.

And while I can appreciate that Astronomica is not too deeply rooted in progressive veins like Rush or Dream Theater, at times Crimson Glory sounds like a band without a genre to truly call their own. There's not enough of an "oomph" to the music to truly qualify them as a metal act, but they seem to dip only a toe into the progressive stream. If anything, I would have liked to have heard Crimson Glory try their hands at more complex arrangements, if only to challenge the listener.

Until then, Astronomica will probably charm the pants off someone who believes that true heavy metal stopped breathing around 1986, and that Crimson Glory represents the phoenix rising from grunge's ashes. For the rest of us, Astronomica is a reminder why music must evolve.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.