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“Return To Wacken” by Savatage

Artist: Savatage
Title: “Return To Wacken”
Label: Ear Music
Release Date: 6/30/2015
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

It’s been far too long since the Metal world has had new music from the great Savatage and their last recorded work together was on “Poets and Madmen” which hit us hard back in 2001 care of Nuclear Blast Records. Since that time, Savatage has been on a bit of a lengthy hiatus while numerous members focused their creative energies on the holiday touring juggernaut known as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra while others continued on into projects of their own. Now in celebration of the bands return to the live stage for the Wacken Open Air Festival, a rather sound compilation of some of the bands classics has been issued and for the foreseeable future this is as close to “new” as we shall get from the legendary band. My notes on the release come from my relatively long association with their material (since 1988 if memory serves me correctly) and a deep knowledge of their back catalog. I didn’t have a copy of my own and was listening to a digital stream of it online. As a collection, this serves up well as a grouping of very necessary tracks for the listeners who might not be all that up on the bands historic game. Let’s consider this to be “Savatage Primer” since its all expected numbers as opposed to any sort of deep tracks. Perhaps if this was a double CD edition but alas this is only a single disc.
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“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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“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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