Crimson Glory - Transcendence
Roadrunner Records
Heavy / Power Metal
10 songs (50:24)
Release year: 1988
Crimson Glory, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Crimson Glory is a band that I strangely heard very early on as I was getting into metal. I say strangely because I have noticed over the years that very few metalheads are familiar with the band and their work. Formed in 1982, Crimson Glory played a mixture of heavy and power metal that is not the most original out there, but still sounds great thanks to talented band members and a knack for writing catchy songs. However, they are largely a band that has fallen by the wayside despite producing some great albums, overshadowed by bands like Judas Priest and Helloween. Fortunately I heard some of the material from their 1999 comeback album, Astronomica, and decided to check out their earlier albums as well. This is the band's second album, released in 1988 on the famous Roadrunner Records, and a release that finally got the band some much deserved attention and respect.

The first track, Lady Of Winter, begins with your pretty typical, 80s sounding screaming guitars and the high-pitched vocals of John "Midnight" McDonald. He always reminds me of a cross between Geoff Tate and Tim "Ripper" Owens. This song is a pretty good overview of the band's sound; catchy guitar riffs and a chorus that is energetic and memorable, with a lot of melody and wailing guitar harmonies. Midnight changes up the vocal style on the next track, Red Sharks, to a faster heavy/speed metal style, and he uses his really amazing vocal range to a great extent, hitting some very high notes at times. The guitars also get more complex here, a lot of solo work is incorporated as well as some quick, catchy riffing that holds on and won't let go. This song actually reminds me of the band Winter's Bane quite often, a band that Ripper Owens was involved with for a short time and one that has also largely been forgotten. Painted Skies slows things down with a balladesque feel and plenty of melancholy melody, opening with some acoustic guitar and clean vocals. Drums and electric guitar soon come in to pick the pace up a little bit, the chorus focusing on wailing guitars and high-pitched croons of Midnight. Lonely is definitely a memorable track, and one of my favorites from the album. It has a great chorus and strong vocal work once again. This song could also be called a ballad in some respects with its calm opening verse building towards a heavy chorus. The electric guitars continue into the next verse, speeding up the song and keeping you interested for the entire song. It's difficult to really pin down the genre this band belongs in, some songs sound like straight up Judas Priest-inspired heavy metal (Red Sharks, Masque Of The Red Death) and some have a more decidedly more power metal feel to them (Lady Of Winter, Where Dragons Rule, Eternal World), and there even seem to be some progressive influences from time to time. However I think the band does a pretty good job of staying consistent in terms of their overall sound throughout the album, with many memorable choruses, wailing guitar solos, and of course the unforgettable piercing vocals of Midnight.

This is a fun album to listen to and certainly one that deserves more attention today. Admittedly though, all of this had been done before in some form, and by bands that are better, however I believe Crimson Glory has, at the least, a somewhat original approach here, mixing in power metal elements in traditional heavy metal, with even some prog tendencies from time to time. The instruments are also played to near-perfection, and Midnight's voice is easily as good as or better than many other 80's heavy metal singers. He can hit some extremely high notes, as well as making his voice sound lower and gravelly. Sadly, Midnight passed away recently in July of 2009, although Crimson Glory's 1991 release Strange And Beautiful would be the last album to feature him on vocals. That album was largely panned and forgotten due to a significant style change to a more progressive sound. However, of their 4 albums, Transcendence is certainly my favorite and one that any fan of heavy or power metal should check out if they have not heard it before.

Killing Songs :
Lady Of Winter, Red Sharks, In Dark Places, Lonely
Khelek quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Crimson Glory that we have reviewed:
Crimson Glory - Strange And Beautiful reviewed by Khelek and quoted 70 / 100
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