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Crimson Glory

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5 stars Not a progressive album, but a power metal album with progressive elements, this one is among the best albums to imerge from this genre ever(probably the best along helloween's keeper of the seven keys 2, yet quite different). Not as creepy as in the first album but reinforced with amazing songs, the band's second album stands as a real treasure of music. Fast solos are replaced with faster(and better) ones (the solo of Eternal World is the fastest one I have ever heard), the vocals are still higher than possible but more mature in a way. Aggresion, epic feeling, it's all here. There are also more melodic songs like Burning Bridges, the dreamy Transendence, Lonely, and the amazing, breathtaking ballad Painted Skies, but there are really no highlights in this album, as all songs are over every standard than anyone has set in this genre. It's a shame that this band is not that popular among metal fans, as it is one of the bands that defined the standards of the power metal music in the USA and the whole world.
Report this review (#31505)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First time I have written a review, so I guess Crimson Glory's "Transcendence" is a good album for me to begin with. It is one of my all-time favorites, and it is a shame that this band never hit the bigtime. The vocals and guitars on this album are simply amazing! I don't have the writing prowess to detail each song on this album, but if you can somehow get a hold of a copy of this album, DO NOT hesitate. If you like shredding guitars and melodic vocals, this is for you.
Report this review (#31506)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A definite must for everyone who loves progressive metal. Containes strong, well arranged compositions and an extraordinairy voice of lead singer Midnight. The songs will lead you into a sound experience not lightly to forget. Midnight will release his first soloalbum end of april 2005. Called SAKADA.
Report this review (#31510)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars evethough i like their first album more i admit that transcedence was the album that made crimson glory quite famous to metalheads all around the world. the album is just great and includes wonderfu songsl such as red sharks, lady of winter, where dragons rule, masque of the red death, in dark places and generally the whole album rocks! midnight's performance is among the top 10 in metal of all time, he can only be compared with tate or with eric adams (manowar's singer) or with alder (fates warning). finally i must mention that the album is NOT progressive metal but pure us 80s power metal in the steps of queensrycher's the warning and fates warning's awaken the guardian...but that doeasn't mean that it is not a masterpiece.
Report this review (#39675)
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars Crimson Glory are one of the most influential bands in both power and progressive metal circles, and after listening to Transcendence, I am in awe of why this band did not make it big. This album is probably the benchmark by which all albums in the progressive power metal genre are judged, as this album delivers in every way, from start to finish. Transcendence is one of those albums that come along once in a lifetime, the type of album that influences a whole genre of music, as bands like Conception and Kamelot have been very influenced by this style of music. Even this album came out in the same year as Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime", it can rival with the high quality of this concept piece, if not top it at times.

Basically, the music of Crimson Glory is a cross of the vocal work and rhythm of bands like Queensryche and the instrumental precision of Sanctuary. So what we have here is a power and progressive metal hybrid, although there are not a lot of time changes and classical influence. You won't really find any keyboard work here, but you will find some of the vocal stylings commonly associated with progressive metal, and much of the music found here is in the style of Rage For Order Queensryche and Refuge Denied Sanctuary, especially vocally. Midnight sounds like a cross of Geoff Tate and Warrel Dane (when he was in Sanctuary and prior to Nevermore.) So, in other words, expect great vocal work here. Also expect to find razor-sharp production and guitar work, but don't expect to find a lot of thrash-style drumming. The drumming is very good, but you're not going to hear a lot of double-bass drumming and triple-time blast beats.

01 - Lady Of Winter: This is the first song here, and it features a nice flow, with high- pitched Midnight vocals. How does he hit those notes without rupturing his vocal cords? The guitar playing is very good, as the production of the album shows how etched and refined the riffs are. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

02 - Red Sharks: It is the heaviest song on the record and lyrically deals with Communism and the Soviet Union, as suggested by the song title. This is one of those songs that is almost impossible to not headbang to. The intro riffs are good, and the drumming is rhythmic, but very steady and strong. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

03 - Painted Skies: That piece is an excellent ballad, with an excellent vocal performance from Midnight, making me wonder how his vocal cords hold up. It contains one of the most haunting and memorable refrains I ever heard, extremely beautiful and deep! (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

04 - Masque Of The Red Death: Has almost a thrashy rhythm to it, and falsetto is the norm for the vocals once again here. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

05 - In Dark Places: One of the absolute best songs on the disc is "In Dark Places", which features excellent riffing, and a very driving and to-the-point flow. Once again the riffs are very etched and refined here, and the drumming performance is very steady and strong. And man, the vocals! Midnight is probably one of the top vocalists in heavy metal history, and he shows why here. The lyrics of "In Dark Places" are also top-quality. A masterpiece in it's own right! (Track rating: 10/10 points)

06 - Where Dragons Rule: It is another top-quality vocal performance from Midnight, and the riffs are once again, crystal clear. (Track rating: (8.5/10 points)

07 - Lonely: One of the best uptempo-ballads in metal history! The guitar work is stunning and the vocals of Midnight here give the song it's important character. I only can highly recommend to download it here free on the archives! (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

08 - Burning Bridges: We finally reached the absolutely highlight of the record. The performance of Midnight here is not describable in words, he brings so much feel in the verses here, which makes it to one of the real great ballads in metal history. (Track rating: 10/10 points)

09 - Eternal World: It contains some complex breaks and riffing, which are always powerful and brilliantly played. After three minutes there comes a very heavy instrumental part, which is in a cool prog-metal style and flues in the final track on the record. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

10 - Transcendence: The title track is the grand final, with magic atmosphere, superb melodies and the great voice of Midnight. This is an outstanding song in whole metal history, Midnight sings here like Robert Plant in some parts, which is a great thing and shows what an superb singer he was. Sadly this was already the zenith of Crimson Glory, with the next album "Strange And Beautiful" they fell down from the top of the hill, reached the bottomline and never get up. (Track rating: 10/10 points)

Overall, this is a splendid power/prog release. Unfortunately, this album is out of print stateside, so if you find this in an import bin (Transcendence is still in print in Europe), you owe it to yourself to pick this album up. Highliest recommended to fans of old Queensryche, Kamelot or Conception and prog/power metal in general! All others should give it a spin too, it's really a metal masterpiece of the late 80's and still one of the highest quality metal albums of all time.

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Record rating: 9 + 9 + 9.5 + 8.5 + 10 + 8.5 + 9.5 + 10 + 9 + 10 = 93/10 tracks = 9.3 = 9.5 points

Crimson Glory - "Transcendence": 9.5/10 points = 93 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Report this review (#49006)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Two things have to be said before discussing this particular album: the first is that it is not in fact the revolutionary hidden-gem historical masterpiece of metal that it is sometimes portrayed as; and second, I find it beyond comprehension that Crimson Glory found their way into the Progarchives before Iron Maiden. Highly irregular selection criteria in my opinion!

I’m not much of a fan of metal in general, but the masked marauders of Crimson Glory do the genre mostly proud with this offering. These guys were from the United States, Florida I think, but they were mostly a second-class citizen in the metal community back then. Their work has largely stood the test of time pretty well, and most metal heads that I know acknowledge these guys as somewhat elevated in stature in the annals of metal history, so this album has some standing as a seminal metal work.

The opening track “Lady of Winter” kicks off the album with a nice bang, and for those who haven’t heard the band before Midnight’s voice is a shocking but pleasant treat. This guy sold his soul to someone to get a voice like that – he enters shriek zone to get to some of the high notes, but manages to do so with both a power and grace that sets him apart from most of his contemporaries and is much more melodic than just about any of the metal larynxes that came after. The rest of the song is mostly shredding and some haphazard slight, staccato tempo changes, well executed but really nothing I hadn’t heard years before from bands like Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow.

Jon Drenning shows on “Red Sharks”, as with pretty with much every track, that he sets the pace for the band as opposed to drummer Dana Burnell who is adequate at best. More rapid-fire shredding, this time with Midnight leaning more toward shrieking than singing. The rap-metal backing vocals are really just a distraction.

Midnight’s vocals on the more mellow “Painted Skies” are dead-on in tone and emotion, although again the weak drum work is a bit of a detractor. I have this song on several of my traveling compilations and it’s a great tune for the open road. I do wonder though how many times I have heard the lyric “spread your wings, you can fly” on a metal album – it’s kind of clichéd.

“Masque of the Red Death” is a remarkably melodic track considering it exists on a metal album. This is an Edgar Allen Poe theme, right? Midnight shatters glass a few times with some nut-crushing vocal gyrations here – very impressive, probably just to prove he can.

“In Dark Places” bears a fair resemblance to early Rainbow, particularly the tempo and tense guitar work. Midnight’s voice isn’t quite the same as Ronnie James Dio’s, but his timbre at least is quite similar. Dana Burnell can’t hold a candle to Cozy Powell of course, but enough about that. This one rambles on for a good seven minutes, but honestly this song is more flash than substance. The lyrics are about a mystic dark maiden beckoning her man to the dark side or something, whatever. Lots of shredding, sinister mood and all, but this theme has been done by just about every metal band at least once.

“Where Dragons Rule” is probably the most cohesive work on the album, with Burnell playing well within his limits on a pretty simple tempo. More of the stratosphere vocal gymnastics here as well, and plenty of senseless shredding. I have to wonder if this was filler since the lyrics are mystic of sorts (well, it’s about dragons anyway), but actually kind of silly – “we kill for the dragon, we have no reason: mission – kill!”.

“Lonely” is kind of “Painted Skies” with different lyrics and a slightly more complex tempo, but otherwise a pretty forgettable song.

“Burning Bridges” has some nice guitar picking to start it off, and a pretty plain bass line, but the riff that picks things up a couple minutes in gives this one a nice feel. The lyrics are yet another chick-I-dig-who-is-breaking-my-heart song, pretty boring stuff after you’ve heard it a thousand times before. Guys who write songs about their love lives should not be held up as progressive artists.

Once across the burning bridge our protagonist finds himself in the “Eternal World”, the great beyond “where time has no meaning and reality is dreaming”. Right. Probably the best drum work on the album at least. Some steamy guitar work toward the end also make this worth a listen, despite the weak lyrical message.

The title track closes the album, and starts off with a quick few shreds, but turns into something resembling a metal ballad. This is Crimson’s version of “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”, only the mellow version. Drenning and Ben Jackson deliver some creative guitar work, especially toward the end, making this a very listenable song as long as you aren’t looking for anything life-changing messages or anything. The album ends on kind of a hackneyed note:

“Fear not the reaper's blade, it does not mean the end…. It never really ends”.

Crimson Glory were a band that perpetuated a number of stereotypes about metal music in general, and adapted several trademarks from those who came before them, from the painted faces (KISS) to the dragons and ladies lyrics (Rainbow) to the shrieking vocals (Dio) to the power ballad (etc. etc.). They do them all pretty well, but don’t really do anything uniquely their own. This is a good album if you are a metal head, not so much if you are a fan looking for excellent progressive music. Three stars, mostly for Midnight’s impressive vocals range and the overall melodic feel of the album, but don't bother unless you're really into metal and dig that 80s sound.


Report this review (#80089)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Transcendence is a spectacular album. It is a masterpiece of progressive metal, and the vocal ability of Midnight. I'm not sure why this band didn't make it big. They are all talented musicians, and some of the songs on this album are the epitome of great prog metal.

Although it's not quite as progressive as it should be, it's still very enjoyable to listen to. The overall sound of the album is reminiscent of Iron Maiden, and their harmonic guitar styles. I also haven't anything to compare with Midnight's vocal range besides Geddy Lee of Rush. The only problem with Midnight's singing is that it can get cheesy and sort of 'over the top.' (Listen to 'Eternal World's chorus).

One of the biggest problems I have with this album are the lyrics. The lyrics are pretty inane, but it doesn't deter from the overall musical quality. I also don't believe there is one cheerful song on the album. Practically every song has something to do with 'pain and misery' and it gets exasperating.

The two highlights of this album are "Burning Bridges" and the title track "Transcendence." Burning Bridges both encapsulates the great musicianship and songwriting of the band, but also the vocal ability of the singer. It has a great acoustic intro, and the singing at the beginning is beautiful. It goes into some impressive guitar work from Jon Drenning, and eventually goes into 'part II' of the song, where Synthesizers overtake the Lead Guitar to make a peaceful but energetic ending.

Transcendence on the other hand is almost entirely acoustic. It is a deeply haunting ballad, and the lyrics on this song are probably the best on the album. I especially like the electric solo that comes as the song begins to end.

Overall, a Great Album. It's not essential, due to some shortfalls in the songwriting and lyrics, but it still is a spectacular album to listen to.

Report this review (#96161)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of those legendary albums that never reaches the fame of Operation mindcrime or Perfect symetry

Crimson Glory are one of the most influential bands in heavy/power and progressive metal history. Transcendence is one of those albums that come along once in a lifetime, the type of album that influences a whole genre of music, as bands like Conception and Kamelot have been very influenced by this style of music. Even this album came out in the same year as Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime", it can rival with the high quality of this concept piece, but never tops Queensryche in my opinion. Basically, the music of Crimson Glory is a cross between Queensryche, Sanctuary and why not Fates Warning and Judas Priest in places, more on vocals. Midnight is something a la Rob Halford meets Warrel Dane and Geoff Tate. So what we have here is a Hevy metal and progressive metal hybrid, although there are not a lot of time changes and classical influence. You won't really find any key work here, only on one of the best track from here Burning Bridges, and here somewhere in background. Also expect to find razor-sharp production and guitar work, but don't expect to find a lot of thrash-style drumming. The guitar sounds very heavy with fine solos. All in all a great album that should appeal to all prog metal fans specially for those who listen to Fates Warning, Queensryche, Kamelot , Conception, Sanctuary and why not heavy metal band Judas Priest (they have nothing to do with prog). 4 stars and recommended.

Report this review (#139963)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Transcendence" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US power metal act Crimson Glory. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in November 1988. Crimson Glory was formed in 1979 under the Pierced Arrow monicker but changed their name to Beowulf in 1982, before finally settling on the Crimson Glory monicker in 1983. They released their eponymously titled debut album in October 1986. No lineup changes have happened since the debut, so the lineup still consists of Midnight (vocals), Jon Drenning (guitars), Ben Jackson (guitars), Jeff Lords (bass), and Dana Burnell (drums).

Stylistically the music on "Transcendence" continues the US power metal style of the debut album. It´s intense, melodic, and powerful metal with a commanding, raw, and very high pitched vocalist in front. Midnight is a vocalist extraordinaire, who in addition to his incredible high pitched screams also deliver very convincing and more raw mid-range vocals (listen to his pretty fierce delivery on "Red Sharks" for an example of that). The instrumental performances are also of high class, and both the rhythm section and the two guitarists deliver their parts with raw bite, conviction, and a burning passion, that leaves no doubt that these guys mean business. And that is one of Crimson Glory´s great strengths. No matter how melodic and catchy their material can be there´s always a good balance between that part of their sound and a harder edged and more aggressive beast just lurking beneath the surface.

The material on the 10 track, 50:24 minutes long album is well written. While all tracks are melodic and catchy if listened to individually, "Transcendence" is an album that requires a few spins to settle though. Not because it´s overtly complex or hard to follow in any way (the tracks are all "regular" structured vers/chorus compositions), but because the high pitched vocals and harmony choirs (however lovely they are), can be a bit hard to handle for 50 minutes straight. Highligts on the album include "Lady Of Winter", "Red Sharks", "Masque Of The Red Death", and the melodic power balled "Lonely", but it is an album which is consistent in both quality and style.

So upon conclusion "Transcendence" is overall a very strong album by Crimson Glory. The sound production is powerful, detailed and clear sounding, the musicianship is on a high level on all posts, and the songwriting is inspired. The album simply reeks class and sophistication, but as mentioned above also raw heavy metal power, to ensure a good balance. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#149858)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This band was one of the founders of progressive metal along bands like Queensryche or Fates Warning. Unlike these two bands, Crimson Glory never got their talent truly recognized. From my point of view, Transcendence is a milestone in progressive metal. Fantastic guitars, an amazing bass player and, of course, the voice of steel. Midnight is one of my favourite vocalists ever. His voice is truly amazing. This album also includes my favourite balad ever - Lonely. Unfortunately, after this album the band was never the same, but Transcendence will always be a reference in the 80's metal scene.

Highly recommended for all fans of well played power metal with lots of progressive elements.

Report this review (#157729)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The sound of this album really brought back memories of the eighties for me. There is no comparison between this one and their debut, this one is by far their finest moment.The twin lead guitar attack and Midnight's amazing voclas are at their best on "Transcendence". This is a must have for Metal fans out there.

"Lady Of Winter" has a killer intro as vocals come in. Some great guitar before 2 1/2 minutes. "Red Sharks" isn't one of my favs but I love the guitar to open.The fast riffing reminds me of MAIDEN.The soaring vocals recall Halford. Blistering guitar solo before 3 minutes with heavy riffs to follow then shrieking vocals. "Painted Skies" opens with gentle guitar and reserved vocals. It kicks in around a minute to a nice solid sound. The contrast continues. "Masque Of The Red Death" is an uptempo track with some ripping guitar before 3 minutes, ripping vocals follow(haha).

"In Dark Places" features nice slow riffs with vocals to match. Fantastic sound. The background vocal melodies are a nice touch.The pace does pick up and check out the grinding guitars after 4 minutes. "Where Dragons Rule" is a shred-fest with incredible vocals. "Lonely" is mellow for the first minute but the rest of the way sounds amazing. "Burning Bridges" is probably my favourite song on here. Intricate guitar with an almost spacey background. Solemn vocals and drums a minute in. It picks up with grinding guitar 1 1/2 minutes in and at 3 minutes. Both sections are so uplifting for me. Scorching guitar 4 1/2 minutes in with an emotional passage a minute later. Great track. "Eternal World" is heavy duty with fantastic vocals. Some screaming in this one and lots of heaviness. "Transcendence" is different from the rest as it becomes haunting and it features synths as well.

If your into eighties Metal then this is a no brainer.

Report this review (#170937)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Crimson Glory - 'Transcendence' 3.5 stars

A progressive metal head should know of this band I hope, and at least this album.

This is one of the albums that are definitive of the birth of the progressive metal genre. Queensryche's 'Operation Mindcrime' and Fates Warning's 'Perfect Symmetry' were far better albums, but this one did a good job when not being compared. The arrangements were far more advanced then the debut album. The guitars mixed the endless amount of riffs, to more explicit and thoughtful licks and melodies. Crimson Glory even slowed down the pace and wrote a few sweet ballads. The vocalist even does a stellar job himself despite the ridiculous hair metal moments at parts.

A key difference in this album is the real split between the lead and the rhythm guitar. While on the debut they kind of just did the same thing, this one contains the guitarists on separate duties. One could be playing a rhythm while the other is wailing away, playing a melody or even giving some long sustained beautiful notes. The guitarists truly make this an album worth remembering even by today's standards 20 years later.

This album in all actuality is very good. I can recommend this for progressive metal people.

Report this review (#190571)
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Transcendence' - Crimson Glory (8/10)

This album holds a special place for me. It's technically the first progressive metal album I ever bought, and my very first taste of prog-metal. I remember being twelve years old and thinking it was the most amazing thing ever after listening to the CD a few times. Years later, I still think of it very fondly.

While Crimson Glory had a relatively short streak of true musical quality (their first two albums, including this one) and the rest of their music is more or less disposable, this band certainly had a profound impact on Progressive metal. While Dream Theater was still under the name of Majesty, and Fates Warning was still essentially an Iron Maiden clone, this band was writting some very interesting prog material. That's not to say they were the first prog-metal band, but they were with the movement pretty close to the start. 'Transcendence' marked the height of Crimson Glory's glory. It is a fantastic, albeit flawed work, and I can credit it to opening up my now-preferred genre of music.

The three highlights on the album find themselves in 'In Dark Places,' 'Burning Bridges,' and the title track 'Transcendence.' It is in these songs that a really progressive sound can be heard. The rest of the album is something along the lines of power metal, with traces of prog. Being that I am a fan of both subgenres of metal, this album finds a good place in my heart.

The problem with the band's music (although it's not a major one) is that the lyrics can get a bit annoying. While the band is certainly not 'emo' by any stretch of the imagination, the lyrics are pessimistic and morose to the point of making the music sound corny. The title track has some rather introspective and atmospheric lyrics though, that I enjoyed.

'Transcendence' is an amazing work, and one of the inaugural works of progressive metal. Not the most progressive album (although it's more progressive than most metal albums at the time) but it's some of the best prog/power metal ever done in the '80s. In a decade of mediocrity, this album stands out.

Report this review (#205609)
Posted Friday, March 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Seems the howls of midnight have more bite than the wolves let on. I am in awe.

Not progressive metal, but close enough to count. The riffing is ingenious. Each song packs so many intricate harmonies guitar or otherwise. And Midnight is one of my favorite vocalists. His piercing wails are shattering and hellish. Intricacies abound with soft acoustic undertones mixed alongside rampant soaring melodies and thoughtful lyrical themes.

Each song is splitting ferocious Queensryche-style power progressive metal with the falsetto vocal kicks of Midnight to make your throat bleed dry. The songs are complex and focused.

The album highlight is absolutely the exemplary In Dark Places, with its multiple facets, stark and reverent opening guitar lines. the eastern style solo flails itself about wildly, evocatively, and in an electrically erotic fashion. And when Midnight shrieks, the heavens tear asunder and wreak hot angels from herald's knit.

Where Dragon's rule is regal in its tantalizing aural assault. The guitar harmonies take Iron Maiden in extremis. Lyrically a bit mediocre, but when the playing is so very masterful, it is hard to take fault. The album's ballad, Lonely, follows. The track is a bit different from your average ballad in that it proceeds to execute much ass kicking, and isn't a power ballad at any means. It features ripping vocals and powerful melodic guitars.

I don't believe I have ever heard guitars cry out in such whimsically furious beauty than on this album. They slice lines through your ears and wreak total havoc. Each song is a metal classic, and the album is so far from filler that each song is unique, yet easily identifiable as being from Crimson Glory. There are so vitriolic melodies hurled unto your person one after another, that it encroaches on madness. Riffs amongst harmonies, amongst splitting wails. This album had everything that made 80's heavy metal great. And with enough interesting progressive moments to make it viable to endure many repeated listens, Transcendence does just that, it transcends its era and is an epoch of brilliant metal.

An essential release for any metal fan, progressive or not. Stunning. Five Stars.

Report this review (#212455)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1988 was a good year for for power and progressive metal. Operation: Mindcrime, Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. II, No Exit, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, ...And Justice For All, and Kings Of Metal were all released that year, along with the second album by Crimson Glory, Transcendence.

This album serves as one of the defining releases in prog power metal. It is one of the few "perfect" prog power albums which you can listen to from beginning to end without hitting the skip button. It truly is all killer and no filler.

Lyrically, the band tackles a variety of topics - a little bit of space opera, some social commentary on aids and communism, and some medieval imagery are all present. Compared to the sex-drenched follow-up Strange and Beautiful, Transcendence is genius in the lyrics department,.

At the center of the album is one of the few perfect metal singles, "Lonely." It's a tricky proposition for a prog power metal band to record and release a commerical single, but CG found just the right combination of catchiness and crunch in "Lonely." A recent re-issue includes the single mix of "Lonely," I and love the extra attention paid to the vocals in the song with counter singing. Unfortunately, the outro solo is snipped off in the sigle edit.

Midnight's vocals are often compared to Geof Tate's, but I hear more European influence there personally, There's a lot of King Diamond in his voice when goes into his high register. He is also a very emotional singer like Messiah (Candlemass), while Tate can sound very cold and clinical on QR's early albums.

The guitar work of Ben Jackson and Jon Drenning is fantastic. There are some really creative riffs and ripping solos. The two have a very good chemistry that shines throughout the disc. The rhythm section is also very tight, with the drumming very crisp and the bass providing real low end, not just echoing the guitar parts as many metal basists were doing at the time.

If you consider yourself a prog or power metal fan, this album should be in your collection, right alongside Images and Words, Rage For Order, Somewhere In Time, and No Exit, It's a shame they couldn't make it to the next level.

Report this review (#226198)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The best Crimson Glory album. Very beautiful and competent mix of power metal and early prog metal. Important mark in american metal history. But is it original work?

Twenty something years ago I was heavy fan of NWOBHM ( New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). So, I perfectly knew all early Iron Maiden albums and Judas Priest works as well. The music you can listen on "Transcedence" is good american version of early Iron Maiden works. With a bit slower tempo and some additional melodism ( and few high vocal notes borrowedn from Judas Priest vocalist). Does it means, that the album is bad? No way!

Perfectly played different songs with excelent voice and generally good arrangements ( I just don't like a bit simplistic drums there). Just not too much original.

I like to listen that album even now. Ok, in some moments you can think you are listening to Iron Maiden, but - is this bad mistake? Sounds more as compliment to Crimson glory!

I believe this album should find a place in any serious collection of early prog metal. Without ambitions to originaly, for sure.

Report this review (#247277)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Transcedence! An album of memorable anthems! Since I am a bit of a metal head, a fan of DREAM THEATER, FATES WARNING, and IRON MAIDEN, this is an essential album in my collection!

I love Midnight's stunning powerful vocals. I love the blood rush I get with the intro to the track "Masque of the red death". Great guitar riffs. I love singing to "Painted Skies", "Lonely" and "In Dark Places". I love the outro to the title track. I love this album.

There is an aura of mystique and fantasy in the music as well as the lyrics of this album. Very enchanting.

For those who love SYMPHONY X, FATES WARNING, and the pure metal of the 80's, this album is essential.

4.0 stars


Report this review (#254240)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Transcendence is probably the best progressive metal album of all time. It is sad that nowadays this unique band is totally forgotten.

Transcendence offers something really special and easily can be classified as universal metal. The starts with Lady Of Winter one of the shortest songs on the record. It shows what Glory is all about - nice riffing, beautiful melodies and of course Midnight's unique voice. Then comes Red Sharks - the fastest song on the album and maybe one of the best speed metal tracks ever written. The highlights on the album are easily Painted Skies, In Dark Places and Burning Bridges. No words can describe how great these pieces of music are. Great riffing, beautiful melodies and of course Midnight's immortal voice. The album ends with the minor title track which is a bit strange, but fits great to the others. So if you call yourself progressive fans this album is absolutely essential!

Report this review (#372739)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Good, but fails to "transcend" New Wave Of British Heavy Metal

Crimson Glory's Transcendence is often considered to be a classic of progressive Metal and while the title and cover art admittedly are very inviting for a Prog fan, the musical contents are not that interesting in Prog terms. Despite hailing from America, Crimson Glory is a band in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal school. Transcendence is an album of moderately complex Heavy Metal very much in the Judas Priest and Iron Maiden tradition and, in my opinion, Crimson Glory fails to push things anywhere beyond what these two classic British bands had already done in the 70's and early 80's. The closest musical influence seems to be Judas Priest's mid 70's albums, particularly Stained Class. The title track has a clear Led Zeppelin flavour.

Still, this is good melodic and, as i said, moderately complex Metal music. I enjoy it. Fates Warning did very similar things on their early albums. But unlike Fates Warning, Crimson Glory did not go on to the next level; they did not evolve beyond proto-Prog Metal (at least not on this album).

Good, but somewhat overrated

Report this review (#602407)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Crimson Glory's "Transcendence" is one of the early prog metal albums coming in at the end of the 80s decade. As such it suffers from the 80s hangover but still manages to captivate with some masterful tracks that are incredibly complex and intelligently structured. One of the most dynamic tracks is 'Eternal World' with amazing speed picking, screaming lead solos and unbelievable vocals from iconic screamer, Midnight. The tempo changes and melody are enhanced by accomplished fast guitar riffage and atmospherics.

The power metal of 'Lady of winter' is a dynamic opener with a killer riff and excellent vocals. This was the sound of 80s metal when metal really took off and spawned some of the most amazing bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer and Megadeth. These bands dominated the 80s but Crimson Glory fell below the radar for me although I was heavily into metal at the time. The band are definitely very accomplished musicians, the lead guitar is incredible by Jon Drenning, backed up by the rhythm guitar of Ben Jackson. The rhythm machine of bass from Jeff Lords and percussion by Dana Burnell are never less than technical.

There are the obligatory acoustic power ballad segments such as on the opening of 'Burning Bridges'. All metal albums seemed to have these moments. The lead guitar work on this is excellent with soaring passionate string bends. The solo at the end is worth waiting round for, fast arpeggios and speed picking merged with a steady tempo.

Another highlight is 'In Dark Places', one of the longer songs at 7 minutes, with Midnight sounding emotional and passionate. This one admittedly sounds like the type of metal of the year 1988, along with Megadeth's "So Far, So Good, So What", Helloween's "Keeper Of The Seven Keys", Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime", Fate's Warning's "No Exit", Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh son", Metallica's "And Justice for All", and Slayer's "South Of Heaven". As you can see it was definitely a year of metal with some of the best albums coming out one by one. The template was to present shredding, melodic riffs, amazing lead breaks and powerhouse vocals. Midnight was certainly one of the best vocalists but he was in good company with the likes of Dickenson, and Tate. Even Christian metal sounded like this, with the high vocals and shredding guitars.

What made Crimson Glory stand out within the maelstrom of metal that dominated in this era? The intricacy and technicality of the music was a key factor. The album features strong prog elements that would bring something new to the scene. Listen to 'Masque of the Red Death' for some technical guitar riffs and especially Burnell's sporadic drumming. In the half time feel the guitars blaze with soaring twin lead harmonics, until Drenning takes over with screaming lead wizardry. The pitchy singing is vibrant and Midnight is revered in metal history for this type of singing.

'Painted Skies' begins with acoustics, Midnight singing melancholy lyrics, "spread your wings, you can fly, But the dove is never free, In painted skies that shade the colour of your dream, Only nightmares are real, Confusion conceals the only reason for the feelings you can't hide." It sounds a bit like Queensryche, namely 'Lady In Black'. The melodic sound is compelling, but it is the guitars on this that lift it, especially the towering lead break and more aggressive riffing.

Another softer balladic song is 'Lonely' with nice harmonics and vocals. The sadness is wrapped in well written lyrics about unrequited love; "She awakens from a dream to a silent room, where shadows speak of memories, Another sleepless night afraid to face the day." The song builds into a heavier riff though maintains the melancholy style. 'Red Sharks' is a faster shredder with more aggressive vocals. The lyrics are very anti communist; "Give us your freedom, we'll give you hell, Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, Glory to red sharks, Answer to your red dictators, Feeding from your dreams, Cast into a sea of red sharks." The faster Crimson Glory is irresistible but there are dated anthemic vocals that could be excised. The guitars make up for it though particularly when the lead break crunches in with speedy licks, duel hammer ons and power riffing. The technical riff at 3:40 that gallops is one of my favourites on the album.

'Where Dragons Rule' is worth a mention too especially for Midnight's high octave screeches. It even reminds me of Judas Priest style riffing, very steady and precise. It sounds a bit Spinal Tappish with the bombastic male chorus vocal yells and overall lyrics, but it holds well due to incredible lead breaks and vocals.

The album is hailed as a masterpiece of metal by many and is highly revered for the late Midnight's legacy and overall metal technique. Midnight died of a kidney and liver failure at the age of 47 in 2008. One of the first prog metal albums, "Transcendence" must rank highly as an influence to prog metal to come in the 90s decade.

Report this review (#679805)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars With a twin-guitar lineup and a vocalist - the mysterious Midnight - whose delivery reminds me a lot of the better Geoff Tate performances, you could be forgiven for thinking that Crimson Glory were just riding the Queensryche bandwagon, though musically speaking I find their material a bit more hard-edged than the 'ryche's post-Warning stuff - in fact, it's more along the lines of early Fate's Warning a lot of the time. Competent stuff, in short, though I feel that the album hasn't aged quite as well as Fate's Warning's material from the same era and if you're after truly experimental progressive metal you'll probably find it a little tame.
Report this review (#1018518)
Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Transcendence' is the album that many Crimson Glory fans (do these still exist???) consider their finest work. And it'd be hard to disagree. Good, quality metal riffing with some nice melodies and interesting twin-guitar harmonies is something I feel that modern metal seems to be lacking, but this album has in abundance, showing you how to get the most out of two guitars.

Everything about this album is a huge improvement upon the groups self-titled debut (which is an album I struggled to enjoy, for no reason in particular). The songwriting is a lot more mature and the guitar harmonies are more consistently interesting than before. Midnight's ungodly vocal range truly shines here with a much more precise production that perfectly suits the music and the era in which it was released.

Guitarists Ben Jackson and Jon Drenning really are two sides of the same coin, with their twin-guitar assault being highly reminiscent of metal greats such as James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, or Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman... or pretty much any other guitarist who's been in Megadeth... the chemistry between the two really is that good, and it's a travesty that they would have such a limited output over the years.

Almost every track offered here is a hit, with only a couple towards the end feeling like they were chucked in to extend the duration of the album. 'Lady of Winter', 'Red Sharks', 'Masque of the Red Death' and 'Where Dragons Rule' are some of the finest, most energetic and enthusiastic power metal songs you can find, and of course, there's also the hit single 'Lonely', which is the song that originally led me to purchasing this record in the first place!

It's a shame that a band such as Crimson Glory never truly lived up to the potential that they had in their prime, but if 'Transcendence' is forever to be considered their finest work, then that's a pretty damn good achievement.

Report this review (#1741922)
Posted Sunday, July 9, 2017 | Review Permalink

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