“Transcendence” (reissue) by Crimson Glory

Artist: Crimson Glory
Title: “Transcendence” (reissue/remaster)
Label: Metalville/Roadrunner Archive
Release Date: 6/2/2017
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 5/5

Way back in the bygone days of 2008, the folks at Metal Mind Productions began re-issuing classic Roadrunner Records releases as limited edition numbered imports. They generally released about “2,000” of them and once they were gone they were gone. There was no way that a fan was going to get another copy unless they found someone selling them on eBay or perhaps in some sort of brick and mortar close out sale. Fast forward to the “now”, the folks at Metalville are re-issuing many of these classics under a “Roadrunner Archive” banner and one such release is the sophomore album by Crimson Glory called “Transcendance”. Having reviewed this item already and only using a digital stream to compose my thoughts about it, I found my head in the same place about the album so I’m repeating that review since it completely applies for it.

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.

As an album this has remained one of my favorites for some twenty years and it’s easy to see why when it begins as “Lady Of Winter” brings you into the bands new music. The heavy opener finds the band at the ready while singer Midnight sings at registers that would make glass break under normal circumstances. It’s a great lead off to the bands heaviest number ever, “Red Sharks”, with its thunderous double bass drums and riffs that make you reach for your nearest air guitar. The chorus is rather catchy here as well for a heavy number and that’s not always the case. “Painted Skies” is a bit of a ballad and its imagery throughout the song both beautiful and sad. The bands first real ballad was the actually rocking number “Lonely”. A video was done for this one and it remains the bands most popular song to this day in terms of its reach. Clearly the band was onto something with the way that they delivered the whole package. In 1988 we were finding the slow decline of Glam Rock and the beginnings of Grunge Rock and it was bands like Crimson Glory that were continuing the charge in a different manner alongside groups like Fates Warning and Queensryche. There fans were many and perhaps they were even inspiring new bands such as Dream Theater to some extent. “Masque Of The Red Death” deals with the epic story by Edgar Allan Poe and yes you do hear a lot of Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” track in this one. I never took it as a copycat thing but more as the two bands using the same Middle Eastern riff in their respective songs. The album comes in a nice digipak case and gives you the lyrics and photos to help you along with the music. The song-writing to me was much stronger this time around and the realms that the band was singing about and the emotions all the more enticing when it came down to it. Sadly, this would be the last album for drummer Dana Burnell and guitarist Ben Jackson who would choose to leave the group and pursue other things. With their replacements also came the abandoning of their signature masks and the continuation of the musical direction that many had grown fond of. “Strange And Beautiful” would be a very different album and receive very mixed opinions from their fans. It has also been reissued and remastered by Metal Mind Productions along with “Astronomica”, the bands final album. A bonus track, the single version of “Lonely” is included, but not the video which I think was a terrible omission.

“Transcendence” is a must have release for fans of Progressive Metal and especially those who have wondered about this particular band over the years. These special edition reissues are nice but I think a comprehensive boxed collection would be perfect since there were only four albums in total. Take your journey to dark places of an eternal world where dragons rule the painted skies for with Crimson Glory at your side you will never be lonely.

I couldn’t speak to the packaging on this one since there was nothing more than the albums cover to accompany the digital stream, but I don’t think that the fans are as interested in that stuff nowadays. This album is still a must have and now its much easier to own a copy and for a reasonable price. I’d like to get my hands on the new issue though since I’ve long misplaced the one I used to have. Sadly, we never saw a full original band reunion with the passing of Midnight and the revamped lineup was short-lived once new singer Todd LaTorre joined Queensryche. Speaking frankly, Crimson Glory was a band that should have been so much bigger.

Track Listing:
1. Lady Of Winter
2. Red Sharks
3. Painted Skies
4. Masque Of The Red Death
5. In Dark Places
6. Where Dragons Rule
7. Lonely
8. Burning Bridges
9. Eternal World
10. Transcendance
11. Lonely (remix) – bonus

Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/crimsonglory/

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