Tag Archives: jon drenning

“In Dark Places” Boxed Set by Crimson Glory

Artist: Crimson Glory
Title: “In Dark Places” Boxed Set
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Release Date: 10/5/2010
Genre: Melodic Progressive Metal
Rating: 5/5

Perhaps someone is paying attention to the words that I am writing down for the website and I say this based on my closing statement in the original review of Crimson Glory’s remastered “Transcendence” album. As I finalized my thoughts on the crushing release I thought aloud saying “these special edition reissues are nice but I think that a comprehensive boxed collection would be perfect since there were only four albums in total”. That being said, I proudly announce that a career comprehensive boxed set of all the four Crimson Glory albums is now available with “In Dark Places – 1986-2000” and it is something very worthy of your hard earned dollar. Before I move deeper into my overview of this amazing collection I wanted to guide those newer and perhaps even younger fans of the Power Metal side about what kind of band Crimson Glory actually was. Musically there was a lot going on with them and visually the stunned the senses with mystical garb and face concealing silver masks. The songs were powerful and well put together while their singer was nothing less than enigmatic. His name was Midnight and he led the band for three albums before departing and while they would eventually continue without him, it was never quite the same for their fan base. “In Dark Places” celebrates the entire sum body of work that the band did and gives it to you in a beautiful package. PiercingMetal.com reviewed the remasters when they first came out and since our thoughts about each release are pretty much the same, we edited those texts only slightly and have re-presented them here. Enjoy.
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“Transcendence” (reissue) by Crimson Glory

iArtist: Crimson Glory
Title: “Transcendence” (reissue/remaster)
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Release Date: 4/15/2008
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 5/5

If there was ever an album that I was dying to find a remaster done for then it would most certainly be Crimson Glory’s sophomore release “Transcendence”. Originally released by Roadrunner Records in 1988 this album is nothing less than a Progressive Metal masterpiece from beginning to end, and when Metal Mind Productions announced their plans on reissuing it I was very excited to say the least. The Florida band had been impressing fans of Progressive Metal for a couple of years now with an intense musical and visual presentation that began with their self titled debut album “Crimson Glory”. The band sported big hair and instruments and wore silver masks to conceal their faces but beyond the imagery we found out just how good they could play and it made the debut one of the strongest of its kind for the day. “Transcendence” takes us to the next logical step as the bands explorations into the realms that they first presented us with on their self-titled album grow ever more interesting and involved. The album, while musically along the same lines as their first (thought perhaps a little more locked in and melodic), found one major change in their visuals. As the early photos demonstrate, the band wore full face silver masks and only singer Midnight had his mouth exposed in order to sing with more ease than having it covered. By the time “Transcendence” was released the band had discovered that performing with faces covered was quite hot and difficult to do so they would move to donning half face masks that were very reminiscent of something out of the Phantom of the Opera. Each of these new masks was slightly different from each other and with it I felt that it added new levels of drama to them as opposed to taking any of it away. Thinking back on the original album I remembered that I never owned this release on vinyl and instead had only been able to find it on cassette tape back in the day and according to research it had never been on CD until around 2001.
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“Crimson Glory” (reissue) by Crimson Glory

Artist: Crimson Glory
Title: “Crimson Glory” (reissue/remaster)
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Release Date: 4/15/2008
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 4/5

Originally released by Roadrunner Records in 1986, the self-titled debut of Sarasota Florida’s Crimson Glory is a welcome addition to any Progressive Metal fans music library. Now made available as a special limited edition reissue/remaster from Metal Mind Productions, those who have longed for such a release to see the light of day will be really happy and those who had only heard of the band in references from others can see just what made them so special in the first place. Crimson Glory was a band who combined powerful melodies and technical musical ability with soaring lead and harmony vocals along with an image that would be as impressive as it was imposing in the visual sense. Sporting full-face silver masks with the exception of the singer whose mouth was exposed, the band was an intriguing mystery on the live stage and like KISS was never photographed without their signature masks. Musically they call us back to a time when Progressive Metal was still in its formative years and should you be a fan that focused on early Queensryche and Fates Warning then you would definitely be on board for the kind of presentation that Crimson Glory brought to the table. Their debut release was self-titled and this worked with a name as impressive and standout as theirs was. They offered up an intricate level of playing ability which was not as common in the bigger Rock scene of the day as Glam Rock was in full swing and when Crimson Glory first came on the scene many of the popular bands were carbon copies of the band who did the same exact thing before them and so on etc. Instead Crimson Glory chose to be different and sing about subjects which were far deeper than a soap opera meant for the Sunset Strip. We find this in tracks like “Valhalla” and “Dragon Lady” where the group takes us to different worlds full of mysticism and atmosphere. Fronted by the mysterious lead singer Midnight, we walk through realms of shadows and time and look forward to each adventure.
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“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

“Astronomica” (Deluxe Edition) by Crimson Glory

Artist: Crimson Glory
Title: “Astronomica” (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Release Date: 11/30/2006
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Rating: 4/5

The masks had gone away with the album “Strange And Beautiful” and the sun had risen on their former singer Midnight, who decided to leave the group just after its release. They would replace him with Wade Black – a powerful vocalist in his own right, who would bring an excellent level of intensity to the group at the same time. Drummer Dana Burnell was also gone and in his place was Steve “Doctor Killdrums” Wacholz (who many know from Savatage). Despite these changes Crimson Glory was able to remain a supremely powerful Melodic Metal force albeit a more refined and determined one. No gimmicks and costumes just incredible levels of Metal and musical expression. From the original lineup only Jackson, Drenning and Lords remained and they would surely not let the band fall by the wayside with mere membership changes. With Astromonica the band would show that they were far more than image and instead proficient players. Black’s growling voice and intense presence raised the level of aggression in the band and provided them with a little more edge than they had in the past. Songs like “War Of The Worlds” and “Lucifer’s Hammer” would present their fans with a Crimson Glory that was back and determined to take no prisoners.
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