One of the best things about metal in the early 80’s, particularly American metal, was the sense of “anything’s possible” that so many bands embraced. It was perfectly reasonable for bands to wear armor onstage, slay giant dragons, or sport matching silver masks and have a lead singer called Midnight. As long as the quality of the music outweighed whatever image the band cultivated, bands could be as creative as they wanted, and this creativity would help define the energy of the still-developing metal movement.
Crimson Glory may have gained initial attention due to their masks and Midnight’s mysterious persona, but their music was what made fans really take notice. The band’s self-titled 1986 debut album is an incredibly strong power metal album, drawing influence not only from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but contemporaries like Queensryche and Fates Warning as well. The driving forces behind this release are Jon Drenning’s frenetic guitar playing and superb songwriting skills, as well as Midnight’s high-pitched banshee’s wail. I love each of the first three Crimson Glory albums; each for different reasons. Still, I think that their debut album is the band’s strongest overall album. Every song is amazing, and the album just seems to radiate that great 80’s metal energy. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it a progressive metal album, but it’s definitely a power metal album with progressive elements.
Though it doesn’t get anywhere near the praise that it is due, this album is the blueprint for many a current, fantasy-inspired, technically proficient power metal band. If you’re into power metal at all, then this isn’t even an optional purchase. It is an absolute must have album.
Edition Notes: Metal Mind reissued Crimson Glory in 2008. The reissue – a numbered edition limited to 2,000 copies – comes housed in a digipack with expanded liner notes, digitally remastered sound, and the rare b-side “Dream Dancer” added as a bonus track. The sound quality is the main reason to buy this reissue, as it’s a big improvement over the original. Metal Mind also reissued Transcendence and Strange & Beautiful. Rating: 5/5