“Strange And Beautiful” (remaster) by Crimson Glory

Artist: Crimson Glory
Title: “Strange And Beautiful” (remaster)
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Release Date: 11/30/2006
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

When “Strange And Beautiful” was released by Crimson Glory their existing fans would find that the band had shifted gears just enough to leave them wondering how this was the follow up to the killer and very influential album “Transcendence”. The reason being simply that this releases predecessor was a Progressive Metal meets Melodic Metal masterpiece and it still holds up today against many of its peers of the time but when it came to “Strange And Beautiful” they would find the band moving closer into experimental Melodic Hard Rock avenues. There were also two additional changes that no one saw coming and the first would be the departures of guitarist Ben Jackson and drummer Burnell while the second would be the abandoning of the groups signature silver masks. Drums became the job of Ravi Jakhotia (from India), and he would introduce new feels and patterns to the groups style. Musically, guitarist Jon Drenning was quoted as saying that “not everything was going to be about fabled lands and dragons”. The title track flows like a modern day Led Zeppelin Prog-Cruncher, while “Love And Dreams” sounds more akin to what you would find Cinderella doing at the time. “The Chant” finds them performing a song from their friends in Outlaw Blood and again its more Hard Rock anthem than that of the once Prog-Metal smiting we were used to getting. While change is often good I think that when this originally appeared that many of the musical illustrations they used really ended up alienating more of their fans than bringing them in. I recalled my own initial hesitation about it, but now some sixteen or so years later, am able to find this an interesting listen. This remastered edition by the folks at Metal Mind Productions offers a brilliant production level and incredible detailed liner notes and photos.

“Dance On Fire” to me was the weirdest track and more suited to a Glam Band than these guys, but “Song For Angels” would show them capable of a touching ballad and find the listener reaching for their lighters to hold them high. Personal favorites for me were found in “Deep Inside Your Heart” for its big and resounding chorus and “In The Mood” as well as the title track since those supplied the heavier aspect that much of this left me wanting back in the day. Listening as a music fan today made me realize that in my youth that I was quite guilty of writing off a group for simply too much change – a trait I have very happily lost as the years passed by. The band felt this was more a “Psycho Sexual” release with lyrics that were more carefree than dark and ominous. The changes introduced here can be compared to the like of Queensryche who surprised fans with “Rage For Order”, a definite departure from their own beginnings. For it’s release year of 1991, Crimson Glory was not only a band dealing with their own lineup and musical change but the changing times of the industry as Grunge Rock began to strengthen it’s foothold and snare audiences of all demographics. All in all, “Strange And Beautiful” is an interesting and worthy part of any Metal collection. The album’s closer “Far Away” is a perfect ending for the piece as the credits roll up and we return once again to our day. Don’t let this one pass you by a second time.

Track Listing:
1. Strange And Beautiful
2. Promised Land
3. Love And Dreams
4. The Chant
5. Dance On Fire
6. Song For Angels
7. In The Mood
8. Starchamber
9. Deep Inside Your Heart
10. Make You Love Me
11. Far Away

Official Website: www.crimson-glory.com

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