Overlooked and under-appreciated gem
Justin Gaines | Northern Virginia | 05/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Strange and Beautiful is probably the most overlooked album by this largely overlooked band. While Crimson Glory didn't make a big splash on mainstream radio/MTV back in the 80's, they are highly regarded in the metal community. Their self-titled debut album and its follow-up Transcendence are prime examples of all that is great about traditional/power metal of that era - thanks in large part to the eardrum-shattering vocals of their masked frontman Midnight.
Strange and Beautiful, Midnight's final album with the band, marked a departure from their signature sound and style. It featured a less intense, bluesier sound, and the lyrics moved away from the cosmic and dramatic and towards the romantic and spiritual. I was a bit upset when I first heard this album, since it was definitely not the Crimson Glory I was used to. However, upon further listens, I found that it was really growing on me. It is now one of my favorite albums, and I enjoy it every bit as much as the self-titled album and Transcendence, albeit for totally different reasons. Rather than comparing it to their earlier releases, I think you have to look at this album on its own merits. I can easily compare Crimson Glory's first two releases to early albums by Queensryche, but Strange and Beautiful is not so easy to find a comparison. I think the closest I can get to it (and this may come more from the feeling I get listening to it than anything else) is the pre-grunge glam rock band Mother Love Bone. I know that's probably not the comparison a lot of metalheads would appreciate, but I think there are definitely similarities in terms of vocal and musical style. I know some people consider this Crimson Glory's "hair metal" album, but honestly, Strange and Beautiful is hair metal like Led Zeppelin is hair metal.
I highly recommend this band and this album. If you are looking for straight-up traditional power metal, then I would recommend Crimson Glory's first two albums ahead of Strange and Beautiful. If you are a bit more open-minded, and/or already have those albums, then by all means check out this great overlooked album. Listen to it a few times and I think you will find that it really grows on you.
NOTE: Metal Mind reissued Strange and Beautiful in 2006, giving the album a much needed sonic upgrade. In addition to the digital remastering, the reissue comes in a numbered digipack with expanded liner notes. It's limited to 2000 copies, so act fast!
NOTE 2: While the description of this album boasts of a bonus track - the radio edit of "Far Away" - the album does not include any bonus tracks. I never saw much use for radio edits anyway, but if you're ordering the reissue based on that track you're going to be disappointed."
An utter let down
Bene | Florida, USA | 12/22/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"When you hear what incredible metal Crimson Glory was capable of (Crimson Glory, Transcendence) and then you listen to the blues garbage on this CD it makes you want to cry. It's not that it's poorly played mind you, just a very poor change of direction for the band. Ignore this offering if you like the first 2 CDs, it is not the same kind of music and will be a complete and total disappointment."
A good album
sauerkraut | 10/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Strange and Beautiful is the third full-length album from Crimson Glory. It was released in 1991. There are 11 tracks. The material is in a hard rock musical direction. Overall, I find the songwriting to be solid, the musicianship to be tight, and the sound quality to be satisfying. Midnight does well with the vocals, and Jon Drenning's guitar playing is skillful; I especially like his engaging rhythm guitar work. Some of the songs contain female background vocals and minimal keyboard playing. My favorite compositions are "Love and Dreams," "Song for Angels," and "Starchamber." The well-written, memorable "Love and Dreams" is a pleasing, uplifting tune. "Song for Angels" is a pleasant power ballad that displays the playing of a grand piano and a gratifying guitar solo from Drenning. The epic, creative "Starchamber" exhibits an interesting, sci-fi-sounding beginning, containing guitar playing from Drenning with a curious, fluid-like tone. Other enjoyable pieces are "Strange and Beautiful," "In the Mood," and "Deep Inside Your Heart." "Strange and Beautiful" is a stately cut that has Drenning providing an appealing guitar solo--he also supplies sleek guitar work on the intro. The nicely crafted, spirited "In the Mood" sports an attractive saxophone solo, while the power ballad "Deep Inside Your Heart" features a pretty guitar line from Drenning during the beginning; I like Drenning's melodic guitar soloing, too. The CD booklet includes the song lyrics and a black-and-white photo of the band--this same photo is also on the back of the CD jewel case. The album cover artwork is odd. The disc is just over 59 minutes. Strange and Beautiful is a good piece of work from Crimson Glory."