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2.91 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1991

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Strange And Beautiful (6:17)
2. Promise Land (5:22)
3. Love And Dreams (5:29)
4. The Chant (3:45)
5. Dance On Fire (5:27)
6. Song For Angels (5:19)
7. In The Mood (5:55)
8. Starchamber (7:28)
9. Deep Inside Your Heart (5:14)
10. Make You Love Me (4:05)
11. Far Away (4:44)

Total Time: 59:09


- Midnight / vocals
- Jon Drenning / guitars
- Jeff Lords / bass
- Ravi Jakhotja / drums

Guest Musicians:
- John Avarese / keyboards
- Ric Sandler / grand piano
- Daryl Burgee / percussion
- Ron Kerber / saxophone
- Annette Hardeman, Charlene & Paula Holloway / backing vocals

About this release

Release date: June 24, 1991
Label: Roadrunner Records

2006 remastered edition bonus track:
12. Far Away (single edit)

Thanks to progshine, colt, adg211288, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Strange And Beautiful" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US heavy metal act Crimson Glory. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in June 1991. Crimson Glory were 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 and their sophomore studio album "Transcendence" in November 1988. There have been a couple of lineup changes since "Transcendence (1988)" as guitarist Ben Jackson and drummer Dana Burnell have jumped ship. Jackson has not been replaced and therefore Jon Drenning handles all guitars on the album, but Burnell has been replaced by new drummer Ravi Jakhotja. The remaining members of the lineup are lead vocalist Midnight and bassist Jeff Lords. In addition to the permanent members of the band playing/singing, "Strange And Beautiful" also features couple of guest appearences on keyboards, piano, percussion, and saxophone.

It´s not only in the lineup department that there have been changes, because stylistically "Strange And Beautiful" is far removed from the US power/heavy metal style of the band´s two previous albums. Maybe the lineup changes paved the way, or maybe Crimson Glory just felt it was time to try something completely different, because the music on "Strange And Beautiful" is a mix of hard rock, glam metal, and the occasional nod towards progressive rock/metal. Midnight´s otherwise distinct sounding high pitched vocal style has changed too. On this album he sings more in mid-range and he at times actually sounds a bit like Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses).

The 11 tracks on the 59:09 minutes long album are as such well written viewed from a technical perspective, and the high level musicianship also ensures that there is quality in that department, but the songwriting is a bit of a mish mash of different styles, which don´t really fit that well together and makes for an incoherent listen. The album includes futuristic synths, plastique horn keyboards, cheesy male/female choirs/backing vocals, saccarine ballads like "Song for Angels" and "Far Away", and semi-funky hard rock/heavy metal tracks like "Dance On Fire" and "Make You Love Me" (which reminds me a bit of a poor man´s Extreme). The only two tracks which are somewhat decent are the two opening tracks (the title track and "Promise Land"). From there it goes downhill...

"Strange And Beautiful" reeks of a band who have lost their way. It sounds like a weak attempt at trying to gain a commercial breakthrough. An attempt which failed badly and instead left us with a directionless and occasionally quite tasteless mess of an album. The critics gave it a cold reception, and the fans generally loathed it. As mentioned above the professional musicianship and a clear and detailed sounding production save "Strange And Beautiful" from complete failure, but it´s overall not a very successful release and considering the two releases which preceded it, it´s a huge disappointment. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.
Well, it's the 90's (1991 to be exact), and the mainstream music trends are shifting dramatically. The majority of metal bands are going through an identity crisis while trying to adapt to the rising grunge scene, or, at the very least, avoid being killed off by it. And progressive/power metal band Crimson Glory are no exception.

Sadly, Crimson Glory's attempt at remaining relevant didn't go over too well, with the band's sound taking a bit of a hybrid hair metal/grunge turn. It reeks of early 90's rock, reminiscent of bands like Extreme or Ugly Kid Joe, but still maintaining their own distinctive style of riffing. But there's so many things here that just didn't stick well with fans.

There's more "chants" and big chorus's with female backing vocals, there's organs, tribal drums, even a bloody saxophone solo! Then there's a brief musical passage in the song 'Starchamber' that sounds almost identical to the chorus of 'Kid Ego' by the aforementioned Extreme. It's always great to see a band experiment with their music, but sometimes it just doesn't work out for the better, and in 1991, this could just have easily been considered desperation to adapt, as opposed to a genuine desire to try new things.

It's all a moot point either way, because unless you were Metallica or Guns 'n' Roses at that time, you were pretty much screwed.

It's all not bad though, songs like 'The Chant' (which is actually an awesome tune), 'In the Mood', 'Strange and Beautiful', 'Promise Land' and 'Love and Dreams' are all fairly good and catchy pieces that makes this album worth looking out for if you're a fan of the band, but certainly nothing of any real importance is on offer here.

Overall, 'Strange and Beautiful' was never going to win over any new fans, but it's certainly an interesting release. Some of the songs can tend to drag at times, but for the most part, it's a decent effort. Sadly, it signalled the end of Crimson Glory's run as a legit band, as, other than a brief comeback album in 1999, the band have done nothing of relevance since.

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