Crimson Glory - Strange And Beautiful review


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Band: Crimson Glory
Album: Strange And Beautiful
Release date: 1991

01. Strange And Beautiful
02. Promise Land
03. Love And Dreams
04. The Chant
05. Dance On Fire
06. Song For Angels
07. In The Mood
08. Starchamber
09. Deep Inside Your Heart
10. Make You Love Me
11. Far Away

It's 1991. You have just turned 19 and, having worked your ass off for three consecutive summers to raise money for your dream trip, you are finally on a plane flying over Asia. You have your Discman (portable CD player in the old days) with you and have packed a few of your favourite metal CDs. You love Crimson Glory's first two records and have just bought Strange And Beautiful at a store in the airport on its release day. Another hour remains before landing, so with plenty of excitement you put the cd in, but just before you hit play…

You regain consciousness in a place that looks very unfamiliar, but also very beautiful. It is a jungle and you have only seen one in documentaries. Soon you are found and taken care of by a local tribe that lives off the grid of what is considered Western civilisation. These people cherish music; in fact they play and make music all the time and use handmade instruments that are made of materials found in nature. They love dancing, singing, chanting, they really sound like a ritualistic choir when they sing altogether. It is night time, the sky is full of stars and out of the shadows appears a young woman with a beautiful figure. Her skin is glowing under the moonlight. This is love at first sight.

You are now in your room. It's been about a week since you were rescued and taken back home. You had to buy Crimson Glory's new album again and you decide to hit "play" and finally hear it for the first time.

It's nothing like you expected. There is no heavy/power/prog metal here. There is tribal drumming from a new Indian guy that gives great rhythm to everyone by sounding ethnic and loose. There are gospel vocals, riffs by Jon Drenning that seem to have been taken out of Led Zeppelin's top drawer, even Midnight reminds you of Robert Plant in his prime. The bass is very audible and groovy; at times it sounds like Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers! And, finally, the keyboards; Jon Lord would be proud, and this says it all.

When the album is finished you can't make out whether you like it or not. Is this the same band that made Crimson Glory and Transcendence? Did they sell out? You have to listen again. You push "play" once more and this time you open the booklet. The lyrics are obscure and they talk about lust and love, except "Starchamber", which has a sample from 2001: A Space Odyssey at the beginning ("My God! It's full of stars!"). Throughout most of the album you feel like dancing… what the fuck? This is supposed to be Crimson Glory!

A few more listens and it all makes sense. It is the soundtrack of the experience you had in that jungle. The cheesy ballads that make you feel guilty for enjoying them so much sound like they were written for that dark-skinned girl you met. This is completely different from the Crimson Glory you used to know. To appreciate it, you have to open your mind. You can remember the shaman singing:

"Unlock the door to your mind
Let's see how high you can fly
Come on, come on, I'll take you all
I am the pilot of the stars."

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10

Written by nikarg | 19.05.2017


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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