Rockbrat Remembers: Crimson Glory

Florida’s Crimson Glory – Jason from Halloween just out of shot

Mr. Rockbrat and Cowboy Col used to buy all the big name US metal rags in the early to mid 80s, IMPORT, (when one US green back bought about three Australian dollars). Hit Parader, Circus, Faces, and others I now forget. Anyway, the other day I was thumbing through a magazine from 1986 and I came across a photo of Crimson Glory. Remember them ? First thing you noticed about them was not their sound – but their image. In an era when Gene and Paul took off their masks (oh God put ’em back on please! ) and every metal band pretty much looked the same, Crimson Glory decided that they wanted to be immediately identifiable, so they wore full-face metallic silver masks on-stage, as well as for all photo shoots and public appearances. Musically, they played an intricate, polished prog/metal style not too dissimilar from Queensryche, yet the look? They looked bloody ridiculous! I wasn’t against a theatrical edge in rock n roll, and Mr. Rockbrat dug bands like Twisted Sister and Lizzy Borden, who both added a spoonful of glitz to the metal machine (66 crush), yet the Florida boys with their face masks and coiffured metal shags came across looking like four Phantoms in drag. Maybe they figured if Kev Du Brow (bless his soul) could go to #1 with a face mask then it might work for them too. As it turned out, whilst on tour in support of their debut album they discovered how hot the masks were to wear on stage. To keep the mystique, they cut them down into a partial “Phantom of the Opera” style for the following tour. Despite the allure, after this tour the masks were permanently retired. Yet as Pete Wells once said, “different place, different time, different haircut” – so I don’t want to judge ‘em too harshly. They were of their time, a time when metal bands playing dress up was par for the course. What a shame countless other ugly metal bands didn’t adopt a mask wearing policy and spare the public from having to view their mugs. Anyway, in all seriousness, musically the band’s first two albums are excellent, and it you are fan of metal from around 85-88, check them out. Their second release, ‘Transcendence’, in particular was a landmark in the genre and it garnered them much-deserved praise and attention, due largely to the dual lead harmonies and soaring vocals of singer ‘Midnight’, who died from kidney and liver failure on July 8, 2009. If you have not heard of Crimson Glory, check out a sample of their tunes here and decide for yourself.

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