LORDS OF THE CRIMSON ALLIANCE — Lords of the Crimson Alliance (review)

LORDS OF THE CRIMSON ALLIANCE — Lords of the Crimson Alliance album cover Album · 1986 · US Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
adg211288
Obscure, Forgotten and Otherwise Hard to Find Metal Albums #5

It's been a while now since I added a new entry to this review series, but much like buses I now have two planned at the same time. This, obviously, is the first. Technically speaking I should perhaps consider disqualifying Lords of the Crimson Alliance (1986), the first and only album ever to be released by the group of the same name, from this review series as it did actually get a CD reissue as recently as 2014 and as such can quite easily be found if you go to the right place, but I decided to write about it anyway as I'm not sure that too many people will have heard about this obscure eighties gem even with a reissue on the market.

Lords of the Crimson Alliance were a band of mystery. To this day it isn't known for sure who the four musicians in the band, who went by the names Far Cry (vocals), Cutterjon (guitars), Grom (bass) and Zan Zan (drums), actually were. Rumour would have it that Lords of the Crimson Alliance were actually the owners of the record label that originally released the album, Grudge Records, under pseudonyms, who also played as the band Grudge. However this was neither proven by third parties nor revealed by anyone in Grudge to be true, nor was it ever denied either. It could be true. It might not be true. Take your pick. Unless anyone involved with Lords of the Crimson Alliance breaks what is now a thirty year silence we may never know.

Personally speaking I am really not sure, but I'm leaning towards no if I have to throw my hat in for one or the other. Grudge, much like Lords of the Crimson Alliance, also released just one album, Barbarians of the New Earth (1986) and having heard both I don't detect anything all that similar about the two artists that may provide some kind of hint towards there being any truth to the old rumours. Especially the vocals on the two records don't sound at all alike but of course it is possible that if Lords of the Crimson Alliance were indeed Grudge that they didn't necessarily stick to the same roles in each band (or the singer just sang differently on purpose), which would make a kind of sense – after all what would be the point of building up all this mystery if you're just going to produce music that is a carbon copy on your other band?

Of course all this text I'm writing is worthless if in fact Lords of the Crimson Alliance were not Grudge, who frankly could just as easily chosen not to deny the rumours as owners of the record label on the basis that it may make Lords of the Crimson Alliance seem more interesting. There's the thing though, with this album Lords of the Crimson Alliance, whoever they were, had something that showed that they didn't actually need any sort of gimmick – this is an excellent album of US style power metal, one that – if this was Grudge in disguise – actually betters the other's Barbarians of the New Earth by quite a massive margin to my ears.

Sure a lot of the hallmarks typical of the genre are present here, including the love them or hate them high pitched vocals, but it's just the kind of fun eighties metal album that doesn't seem to take itself too seriously (I mean come on that band name is cheesy as hell really and then there's that cover art), the sort that manages to keep me smiling from start to finish. Typical for the time the album barely passes the thirty-five minute mark, but the length feels about right for the style. Also typically the biggest fault of the album is that the production isn't always the most flattering for the music to have as big of an impact as it could, but I don't actually find that it spoils my listening experience too much. It was the times you could say, so in its own way it does make the listening experience in 2016 seem just that bit more authentic than it would do if these songs were played exactly the same way today with modern production standards.

Lords of the Crimson Alliance is a killer record. Perhaps more than most USPM albums from the time it shows off more of the speed based music that formed the basis of the soon to be born European power metal brand though its roots were still firmly in traditional heavy metal that characterise USPM. Whatever the truth behind their story, this is certainly one of those albums that no metalhead should be overlooking.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks. And as stated review #6 has just gone up.

http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/no-place-like-home/321743

Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review, I should check it out. I always enjoy reading reviews of albums/bands with odd histories and mysteries about them.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks both, it's comments like these that will keep this series going.

I have one more review planned for today (just got to put it through editing) but after that I need to research me some more candidates. I do have a couple potential ones in mind but haven't decided on anything yet. I want to try including more of a selection of genres - this series has had quite the USPM bias so far.

siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Cool album. Thanks for reviewing these rarities. I love these lost treasures and the few tracks i'm hearing from this right now, i'm loving it
more than 2 years ago
I went through all four and left you a comment on each. Loved the series and looking forward to review 6. I've got a few albums to check out now and hopefully manage to track down.
more than 2 years ago
Thanks. I'll read them in order.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks, and sure can (I'll make a post in my MMA blog to keep track of the series at some point):

#1: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/sin-will-find-you-out/314102
#2: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/haunting-tales-of-a-warriors-past/314103
#3: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/born-of-the-cauldron/312949
#4: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/for-snow-covered-the-northland/229094

#6 will be posted tomorrow most like.

more than 2 years ago
What a great idea for a review series! I think I've missed the previous entries though. :( Can you link me to them please?

I've never heard of this band (or Grudge for that matter) but they sound interesting.

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