Great Metal Albums of 1986: Crimson Glory

I avoided listening to any Crimson Glory over the many years. This was down to when, in February 1987, I saw them support Anthrax and Metal Church at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. To make a long story short, I was totally unimpressed with them. After the concert, I stated that the night would have just as good if Crimson Glory had been left off the bill as Anthrax and Metal Church were both amazing. Thirty plus years on, whether I like it or not, Crimson Glory did make up a small piece of heavy metal history and being the open minded chap I try to be, I gave their debut album a few listens. Maybe it’s me having more wisdom in my older years or possibly, they simply had an off night when I saw them but this album is pretty good.

Reflecting back, I think that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to put a straight-forward metal band like Crimson Glory on a bill with two thrash metal giants. While there are some great power chords throughout the album, which comes through straight way, there are some great melodies on the songs as well. Furthermore, I can see why some people have made comparisons between lead singer, Midnight, and Queensryche’s Geoff Tate. Midnight does like to do the screams and he does it quite a bit on many of the songs. “Heart of Steel” is a prime example of his vocal prowess. It also helps that lead guitarist Jon Drenning gets to show off his shredding skills and on a further note, I now include Ben Jackson in my list of great rhythm guitarists. I have to concede that there is a lot to like on the album.

One track, where Crimson Glory tries to cover all the bases is “Azrael.” My guess is that they were trying to make Queensryche style progressive type song. It starts out with an acoustic intro which gives the impression of a possible ballad before going into the power chords. The track is played very well and Midnight gets to scream quite a bit. The song also lets you know that there was an angel of mercy named Azrael as “Azrael, angel of mercy,” gets repeated a lot. Overall, it’s a pretty decent track, though it doesn’t get my vote for top track. Nor does, “Heart of Steel.” No, my votes for best tracks on the album are “Dragon Lady” and “Queen of the Masquerade.” There are no special reasons as to why these two tracks are my favourites on the album, they simply are the tracks which grab me and make me take notice of them. The band does nothing different with them, they simply put everything together in a way which pleases me. On another note, maybe the concert promoter heard the track, “Mayday,” and assumed Crimson Glory were a speed metal band. It could also be down to the closer, “Lost Reflection,” which while a good closer, is slightly similar to a Metal Church song from their album at the time.

It would be a dereliction of duty not to point out what made Crimson Glory stand out in the 1980s. It wasn’t anything to do with their sound, it was the fact that they wore silver metallic masks. In an age where a lot of metal bands began to look alike, the masks made them stand out. You saw the masks and knew it was them. Unfortunately, because I was so not impressed when I saw them, I thought that the masks were just a gimmick in order to compensate for lack of musical acumen. I see now that’s not the case.

Track Listing:

  1. Valhalla
  2. Dragon Lady
  3. Heart of Steel
  4. Azrael
  5. Mayday
  6. Queen of the Masquerade
  7. Angels of War
  8. Lost Reflection

Midnight- lead vocals

Jon Drenning- lead guitar

Ben Jackson- rhythm guitar

Jeff Lords- bass

Dana Burnell- drums

Hindsight isn’t 20-20 but it’s a lot better than foresight or present sight. Reflecting back, it might have been better if Crimson Glory had been on the bill with Queensryche and Bon Jovi when I saw them three months prior to this concert. Having been still unfamiliar with Queensryche and had an “eh” approach to Bon Jovi, I think I would have appreciated them more. Especially if this debut album is anything to go by.

Next post: Metal Church- The Dark

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Note: I do write how unimpressed I was with Crimson Glory in the book.

12 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Crimson Glory”

  1. I always meant to check this album out, but I just keep forgetting it when I am in a buying mood, and remembering it when I am broke.

    Good to see I havent been missing out too much (even if its better in hindsight).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Metal Church and Anthrax in 1987!? Jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny, sometimes an album is good and the live show doesn’t capture it, and sometimes the reverse is absolutely (more often?) true. Of course it’s best when both are great but so it goes. I’ve seen bands that didn’t cut it for me, live, so good on you for going back and giving it another crack. I dig what I hear here, that’s for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had the LP after this one – forget the title; it didn’t last too long in the collection.

    I did like the mask gimmick though.

    Liked by 1 person

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