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Classic Review: Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory
Crimson Glory
Crimson Glory

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 1986
Duration: 38:53
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 2, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Crimson Glory

Rated 4.42/5 (88.49%) (73 Votes)

This is the very first Crimson Glory album. It was almost impossible to get back when it was released, and even harder to get now, so some may question the point of reviewing it at all. But this is not only the prelude to "Transcendence" – one of the essential metal albums of the 80’s, but also an excellent album in its own right. Besides, we can always hope for a re-issue, can’t we?

For a debut, this is an amazing piece of work. The production is good, if not as superlative as the follow-up. It sounds a lot like the production job on Queensryche’s "The Warning". The guitars sound nice and crunchy, and I even like the drum sound a little better than on "Transcendence". This is mostly mid-paced, melodic power metal with good riffs and excellent leads topped by Midnight’s first-rate vocals. There are eight songs here, five good, three great.

"Valhalla" is a good opener, but it’s a midpaced tune and it never kicks up. So it’s good, but never goes to the next level. "Dragon Lady" follows, and it’s one of the great songs here, with a wickedly catchy sing-along chorus and dizzying dual-guitar work. "Heart of Steel" is a good tune, another mid-paced mosher like the opener, but it goes on a little too long.

Which brings us to "Azrael", an instant metal classic. If there is one real tragedy in the general obscurity of this album it is the loss of this song. "Azrael" opens up with a gentle acoustic and vocal intro, then launches into one of the coolest, most blistering riffs ever recorded. This is a heavy, very guitar-driven song with cool riffing throughout. Midnight is in top form here, and the lyrics are awesome. ("I hold the Lion’s mane/I come in crimson rain/cursing the dark skies") This song alone is worth the rest of the CD.

"Mayday" is the fastest song here, but its simplistic structure and lyrics mostly manage to enervate it, making it actually my least favorite track here. Listenable, but not really anything to grab you. "Queen of the Masquerade" is the third great song on here, a slower-paced stomp with very cool, creepy lyrics and another catchy chorus you’ll be singing and banging along to - plus a groovy bass solo. "Angels of War" is another mid-paced number like "Valhalla", in fact it sounds almost exactly like "Valhalla", a decent track, but nothing special. "Lost Reflection" closes things out and it isn’t like any of the other songs here. It’s a spacy, mostly acoustic song sung in a whisper, until the last part pummels out and then segues into more weird acoustics and insane mutterings. For some reason it reminds me of a King Diamond track. For those who wondered what was up with the song "Other Side of Midnight" on "Astronomica", it was meant as a kind of sequel to "Lost Reflection"

This CD got NO domestic distro when it was released, so you could only get it in Japan and Europe. (Mine was an import almost ten years ago and it cost me 40 bucks) It has a neat cover with a photo of a silver mask flanked by roses on black marble with the band logo carved on it. There’s a band pic inside, but no lyrics, so you’d have to get them off like I did.

While in no way matching the stellar "Transcendence", this is a good album with three absolutely killer songs on it. An overabundance of rather samey-sounding cuts that never really rock out holds it back from greatness, but what is good here is really good. If you are a CG fan or at all a fan of this type of melodic heavy metal then you should keep your eyes open for this one and grab it if you can. Even if you don’t like the CD, you’ll have a rare piece of metal history for your collection.

Other related information on the site
Review: Astronomica (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Transcendence (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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