Posted on March 8, 2010 -
Strange and Beautiful is probably the most overlooked album by this largely overlooked band. While Crimson Glory didn’t make a big splash on mainstream radio/MTV back in the 80’s, they are highly regarded in the metal community. Their self-titled debut album and its follow-up Transcendence are prime examples of all that is great about traditional/power metal of that era – thanks in large part to the eardrum-shattering vocals of their masked frontman Midnight.
Strange and Beautiful, Midnight’s final album with the band, marked a departure from their signature sound and style. It featured a less intense, bluesier sound, and the lyrics moved away from the cosmic and dramatic and towards the romantic and spiritual. I was a bit upset when I first heard this album, since it was definitely not the Crimson Glory I was used to. However, upon further listens, I found that it was really growing on me. It is now one of my favorite albums, and I enjoy it every bit as much as the self-titled album and Transcendence, albeit for totally different reasons. Rather than comparing it to their earlier releases, I think you have to look at this album on its own merits. I can easily compare Crimson Glory’s first two releases to early albums by Queensryche, but Strange and Beautiful is not so easy to find a comparison. I think the closest I can get to it (and this may come more from the feeling I get listening to it than anything else) is the pre-grunge glam rock band Mother Love Bone. I know that’s probably not the comparison a lot of metalheads would appreciate, but I think there are definitely similarities in terms of vocal and musical style. I know some people consider this Crimson Glory’s “hair metal” album, but honestly, Strange and Beautiful is hair metal like Led Zeppelin is hair metal.
I highly recommend this band and this album. If you are looking for straight-up traditional power metal, then I would recommend Crimson Glory’s first two albums ahead of Strange and Beautiful. If you are a bit more open-minded, and/or already have those albums, then by all means check out this great overlooked album. Listen to it a few times and I think you will find that it really grows on you.
NOTE: Metal Mind reissued Strange and Beautiful in 2006, giving the album a much needed sonic upgrade. In addition to the digital remastering, the reissue comes in a numbered digipack with expanded liner notes. It’s limited to 2000 copies, so act fast!
NOTE 2: While the description of this album boasts of a bonus track – the radio edit of “Far Away” – the album does not include any bonus tracks. I never saw much use for radio edits anyway, but if you’re ordering the reissue based on that track you’re going to be disappointed.