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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Crimson Glory

Astronomica

Review by Gary Hill

With far reaching influences (King Diamond, Judas Priest, Queensryche, Rush, Iron Maiden, Rob Zombie, Powerman 5000 and even Alice Cooper), this CD really puts an intriguing twist on the metal genre. The vocals tend to be quite in the mode of King Diamond (deep lines followed immediately by very high ones), but far more under control. The overall tone to the music is very mysterious. Crimson Glory is Wade Black, Jon Drenning, Ben Jackson, Jeff Lords and Steve Wacholz.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
March to Glory
World War II oriented sounds and voiceovers start the album. Drums join the piece, and it builds from there in a dramatic, story-based mode, a bit reminiscent of Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime. The cut is essentially an instrumental with just the WWII oriented material over the top of dramatic and militaristic sounding classically tinged metal.
War of the Worlds
Feeling a lot like a less weird King Diamond, this song has potent metal modes in fierce patterns. These are encased in a quirky and staccato arrangement. The track is a bit Priestish at times, and ends with textural sounds and spoken words. The vocals to this one are a bit too over the top, and the guitar solo seems a little contrived. Still the arrangement really more than makes up for these shortcomings
New World Machine
Beginning in an almost Mansonish mode, the song moves quickly into Maidenesque riffing that sets a wonderful tone. It then jumps into a more modern metal mode (ala Rob Zombie). This cut does a nice job of combining these elements into a potent and intriguing number. This is quite a strong tune.
Astronomica
A psychedelically tinged acoustic intro takes on mysterious and fascinating textures as the vocals enter. This bouncy number feels a bit like Page and Plant meets the X Files, with a healthy dose of Queensryche thrown in. The cut goes very metallic, but still contains the majesty and mystery of earlier segments. Quite dramatic, this is the first of many magical numbers on this album.
Edge of Forever
Feeling a lot like Maiden's "Children of the Damned", this is a strong and rather bluesy slow cut. The intensity and complexity really builds after a time, making this another of the best songs on the album. "And the world keeps turning faster, Still we reach for the unknown." Containing a very classically tinged break, this one is definitely very much in the mode of Iron Maiden.
Touch the Sun
Electronic keyboard sounds start this one before going to an acoustic segment that is bouncy, mysterious and dramatic. Another killer cut, as it breaks into fast paced metal, it features Halford-like vocals and an arrangement that seems to merge Iron Maiden with Rush and Kind Diamond. The bass sound in particular is very Rushish. The chorus segment here is very strong and the instrumental break features quirky timing with tasteful but still flashy guitar work.
Lucifer's Hammer
Sound effects begin this one, which then tears out into fast and potent territory. Quirky at times, this cut features an instrumental break that is set in a nice groove.
The Other Side of Midnight
Mellow, haunting and classically tinged tones start this one. The sound takes on dramatic and rather spooky elements as the vocals enter. In fact, this cut is really a very spooky progish ballad, creepy both in terms of music and lyrics. About two and a half minutes in, the tone changes. The song stays the same musically, but the mode becomes very metallic. This one really seems to merge elements of King Diamond with Alice Cooper. As the number settles back down, spoken word elements really call to mind Welcome To My Nightmare era Cooper. This is the tone that ends the piece.
Cyber-Christ
A processed and spooky voice begins this cut by saying "Welcome to oblivion" After a time, very quirky metallic elements take over, calling to mind both Queensryche and Rush. These tones are joined by more hardcore metal leanings (Powerman 5000ish) in a potent arrangement.
Cydonia
With a lyrical texture that is quite Lovecraftian, this one starts with pretty and intricate prog metal balladic tones. "God whispered out to me from outer space, His voice echoed, Then disappeared without a trace." "God whispered out to me from outer space, He looked deep inside of me, A lonely place." The cut has a very progish hard rock tone and an incredibly catchy chorus. "Cydonia - city I see in dreams, City I see in dreams, Cydonia -shrouded in mystery." The arrangement here is very strong and progish. It just seems to keep building.
 
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