Crimson Glory should get more props than they do for their impact on the mid eighties prog-metal scene. Instead everybody into this music goes on and on about Queensrÿche or maybe Fates Warning, while some whine about how Dream Theater changed it all and everything else sucks.
Crimson Glorys brilliance was that of solid songwriting, weird rhythmic figures that blended perfectly with guitar harmonies and vocal melodies. This gave the progressive element a certain sense of subtlety and not in your face like the seventies prog rock. Just listen to Eternal World off of the Transcendence record and feel how it all melts together perfectly.
A huge part of Crimson Glorys sound was the vocals of Midnight. An unbelievably powerful voice and some of the most intense melodies I’ve ever heard. Sadly he left the band after their failed flirt with pop music in the early nineties, and is now passed away, may he forever rest in peace. What would they sound like without him?
In his place they got Wade Black, I don’t think I have ever heard him in anything, besides this record. I love the vocals on this record, his voice is really high pitched and he also uses an amazing falsetto to peak the intensity and energy of the songs. He’s not as good as Midnight, but he has an honesty to his voice and this amazing, powerful, energetic falsetto scream.
To make a comeback in the late nineties with subtle prog metal is just bad timing. There is quite a lot about this album that has the sound and feel of the eighties. Especially the guitar sound and riffing harkens back their roots. The production however sounds crisp and clear. The bass sounds powerful and almost funky at times. The drums can at times be a little hollow or sound like a tin drum, but as far as mixing etc, this album is right on the money. Oh, I should mention that I have only heard the 2006 remastered, 24 carat gold disc, so maybe I should not talk too much about the sound quality, for all I know the original album could sound like crap.
Astronomica have several outstanding tracks, actually most of them are excellent. No, they’re actually all excellent. War of the Worlds is a powerhouse, up tempo, amazing guitar riff, powerful bass and soaring vocals. The same could, and should, be said about the title track. It has this sort of wave structure to it, as it peaks with bursts of energy and intensity, and then later cools down and mellows out in a natural way.
The Edge of Forever, Lucifers Hammer and The Other Side of Midnight are all in same direction as Lost Reflections or maybe the title track off of Transcendence. Dreamy, with long slow paced melody / instrumental parts. Lucifers Hammer also has this hard rocking, banging ending that just screams for a good live setting, with fists banging the air and me screaming at the top of my lungs.
Touch the Sun and Cyber Christ, and in some ways Cydonia, all have more of a heavy metal vibe and is the heaviest numbers on the record. Touch the Sun is a bit slower, but heavy as all that. Cyber Christ has a Dio gone prog feel. The main riff is a heavy heavy piece of work, and the chorus is just brilliant, with a strong vocal melody.
Cydonia, the last track of the album, is also the weakest song of the album. But that doesn’t mean it’s not great, but in comparison to the other tracks on here it’s definitely lacking something.
I don’t know why they couldn’t get a go of it with Wade Black, but their comeback didn’t work out. They’ve had several goes at it over the last ten years or so. At least once with Midnight before he died, and I think they tried a second time with Wade Black too. I believe a new album was recorded at some point, but issues with their record label got in the way of that. They also had a good turn with current Queensrÿche vocal god Todd la Torre. God, how I wish they had made an album with him.
I absolutely love this album, so much so I think this would be one of my desert island albums, you can only bring five, right?
Recommended downloads: ALL OF THEM!