When this album was published, I read a review in the German edition of the Metal Hammer which rated it down because the author compared The Crimson Idol with Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche which was in his opinion THE reference for every concept album. I disagreed then, and I still do. Back in 1992 my reference for every concept album was Misplaced Childhood by Marillion, though it is not Heavy Metal. Now I have given up the habit to compare concept albums to other ones, simply because it is rarely possible. There are not many concept albums which share the topic or style, though bands in the progressive genres certainly publish more of them. Accordingly, The Crimson Idol has a completely different topic than Operation: Mindcrime, and I can't recall another concept album about music business and the pitfalls for the artists.
Musically, The Crimson Idol is a really good album. There is no song I could rate as crap, while there are several I consider excellent. The style is dominated by the usual W.A.S.P.-like highspeed, but there are some surprisingly slow passages and even an acoustic ballad in The Idol. Another positive feature for me is the relative lack of extreme vulgarities that are so typical of W.A.S.P. and the main reason why I'm not too fond of this band.
My favourite songs are Chainsaw Charlie with it's stylish chainsaw intro, the already mentioned The Idol and the final The Great Misconception Of Me, another rather slow song with a lot of lyrical depth. There are other concept (and normal) albums I still prefer over The Crimson Idol, but it is the best W.A.S.P. album by a large margin. To be honest, it is the only album of this band I like. 4 stars.