Crimson Glory - Astronomica
The folks over at Metal Mind Productions have done a top-notch job with their somewhat recent and mostly must-have collections of classic underground metal, all individually limited to 2000 unique copies and filled to the brim with goodies: some are remastered, feature a bonus disc (as this album does, and the songs within demand every die-hard Crimson Glory fan to own it) or just a few songs worth of demos and live tracks. True fan delights. And there have even been a couple of discs that made me a fan of some classic metal bands I otherwise probably never would have known of. Crimson Glory didn't do much for me on Strange And Beautiful (the only other album of theirs I've heard, which was also a Metal Mind re-issue), but Astronomica is a much different beast.
For starters, the band came a long way between albums, and this one was released in 1999, quite a few years after they'd done much at all. Gone are the original vocalist (Midnight, who was a talent for sure) and drummer, and introduced are Wade Black and ex-Savatage skinsman Steve Wacholz. Black's vocals help give the music a new feel of deeper progressive and NWOBHM, neo-classical inspiration. The rest of the band is competant and often flashy, snapping off with the flair at practiced moments that hint at quality songwriting skills that improved with age. Songs like "War of the Worlds" and "Touch The Sun" are pretty fast-paced, showing an agressiveness (especially in Wade Black's Halfordesque high-pitched screams) the band didn't seem to have a grip on in the past. Overall there's a nice mix of what fans must still love the band for, and a more modern metal feel that combines classic influence with modern mastery of instruments and production materials. Other highlights include the wordly melodies on "Edge of Forever", the slow-building, brooding "The Other Side of Midnight" (the title almost sounds like a reflection on a past member...) and the gritty "Cyber-Christ"
An album that must have reeled back in almost every fan that had forgotten about them while gaining an additional base to work with, Astronomica would have gotten heavy praise from me had I known of it when it was released, as I was even more into this type of classicly inspired progressive power metal back then. For what it's worth now, as a re-issue and as I've stated, any fan of Crimson Glory deserves to own this and as a starting point for a newb, I couldn't think of a better alternative.
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on 2008-07-24 SolitaryMan Said:
So you wouldn't consider yourself apart of their "Crimson Militia", eh? There's gotta be some die-hards out there. Also, they've made a forgettable album or two so it's really no one's fault but their own.
on 2008-07-24 dscanland Said:
"Die-hard Crimson Glory fans" That's so funny! I used to have one of their albums but for the life of me I can't remember it. I guess I'm not die-hard then.