Crimson Glory
Crimson Glory
Crimson Glory, a progressive metal band that formed in Florida in 1982, consisted of vocalist Midnight, guitarists Jeff Drenning and Ben Jackson, bassist Jeff Lords and drummer Dana Burnell. The band went through a number of line-up changes over the years and released three albums. Shortly after 1991's "Strange & Beautiful" Midnight left and the band broke up. 1999 saw Crimson Glory reunite, but without Midnight behind the mic. They release an album called "Astronomica."

CRIMSON GLORY frontman John Patrick Jr. McDonald (aka Midnight) passed away on Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 from "kidney and liver failure." He was 47 years old.

Crimson Glory Crimson Glory (Metal Mind) 1987

1. Valhalla (3:46)
2. Dragon Lady (4:21)
3. Heart of Steel (6:07)
4. Azrael (5:42)
5. Mayday (2:59)
6. Queen of the Masquerade (5:27)
7. Angels of War (5:23)
8. Lost Reflection (4:43)
9. Dream Dancer (6:54)

Crimson Glory were brilliant, epic heavy metal. However, though the band were often labeled progressive metal, they were actually fairly traditional in their approach. Crimson Glory built upon the early Queensryche style but comparisons to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are just as valid. Crimson Glory's sound revolved around the guitar tag team of Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson along with the heavenly vocals of Midnight. They had a keen sense of melody but didn't forsake heavy riffs in order to attain that melodic sound. The song writing was also dynamic offering every thing from heavy songs to more melodic numbers. The album opens with two heavy rockers in, "Valhalla", "Dragon Lady" and the ultra-catchy "Queen of the Masquerade". Likewise "Mayday" is a fast and furious heavy metal number. Of the more melodic numbers there is the galloping and enchanting "Azael" as well as the moody "Lost Reflection". All together, Crimson Glory's debut is simply a classic heavy metal patter and one that is now considered one of the more influential progressive power metal albums. The band added a bit of mystery in their image as welll by wearing the shiney, silver Phantom-like masks. In retrospect the masks might have been a little over-the-top and cheesy, but then again isn't metal suppose to be over-the-top?

The Metal Mind Productions gold disc re-release includes a bonus song, the title track from the highly collectible "Dream Dancer" EP. Unlike the original CD pressing, the lyrics are included in the 8 page booklet. The booklet also includes a short biography, though there are no photos included whatsoever.

Jon Drenning, live in NYC, October, 1989
Photo by Keith Abt

Transcendence Crimson Glory - Transcendence (MCA) 1988

1. "Lady of Winter" (4:00)
2. "Red Sharks" (4:52)
3. "Painted Skies" (5:16)
4. "Masque of the Red Death" (4:15)
5. "In Dark Places" (7:03)
6. "Where Dragons Rule" (5:07)
7. "Lonely" (5:18)
8. "Burning Bridges" (6:32)
9. "Eternal World" (3:54)
10. "Transcendence" (4:34)

Killer album! "Transcendence" is one of the finest 80's progressive metal albums, ranking up with Fates Warning and early Queensryche. Midnight has a great voice with a wide range. "Lonely" is a power ballad with a monster hook. This album alone gained the band a huge cult following. They never did gain huge commercial success though.

Midnight and Jon Drenning, live in NYC, October, 1989
Photo by Keith Abt

Strange & Beautiful Crimson Glory - Strange & Beautiful (Atlantic) 1991

1. "Strange & Beautiful" (6:17)
2. "Promise Land" (5:22)
3. "Love & Dreams" (5:29)
4. "The Chant" (3:46)
5. "Dance On Fire" (5:28)
6. "Song For Angels" (5:20)
7. "In the Mood" (5:55)
8. "Starchamber" (7:28)
9. "Deep Inside You" (5:14)
10. "Make You Love Me" (4:06)
11. "Far Away" (4:45)

"Strange & Beautiful" is another fine melodic, progressive metal album. The title track reminds me of something off Led Zeppelin's "In Through the Outdoor" and "Love & Dreams" is a radio-ready acoustic number. Perhaps this disc is a bit more commercial than the first two, but itís still a great album by a great band. I'd say that "Strange & Beautiful" is also the most melodic of the band's first three albums as well. The vocal melodies throughout the album are fantastic. Each and every song possessing it's own style and charisma, brought to life by stellar guitar work and Midnight's vocals. Songs like the majestic "Starchamber" or the groove laden "Promise Land" are simply some of the best the band has ever written. Crimson Glory are one of the most underrated progressive metal bands. Oh, the band dropped the silver masks for this album. Of the band's first three albums this one was the first to be released on a major label, yet it is now the hardest of the three to find.

Astronomica Crimson Glory - Astronomica (Rising Sun) 1999

1. "March to Glory" [instrumental] (3:28)
2. "War of the Worlds" (4:08)
3. "New World Machine" (4:14)
4. "Astronomica" (4:54)
5. "Edge of Forever" (5:47)
6. "Touch the Sun" (5:55)
7. "Lucifer's Hammer" (4:25)
8. "The Other Side of Midnight" (4:29)
9. "Cyberchrist" (5:14)
10. "Cydonia" (5:47)

Live Sept. '89
1. "Painted Skies" (7:08)
2. "Queen Of The Masquerade" (6:19)
3. "Lost Reflection" (6:28)

Crimson Glory's fourth album, "Astronomica," marked the return of the more progressive metal sound but is missing the vocals of Midnight. New vocalist Wade Black is a more than competent vocalist and does an excellent job taking over ther reigns. Crimson Glory's lyrics revolve around UFOs, pyramids, the Cydonian region of Mars, the Internet and other millennial, supernatural, sci-fi paranormal themes. Track ten, "Cyndonia," is actually 27:06 in length. The first 5:47 is the song with the remaining time being phone and radio conversations of people reporting to have seen unidentified flying objects. Should also make note that Steve Wacholz (ex-Savatage) performs on this album. Picked up this disc in an internet trade on the PM Board.

Thanks to a dear friend in Germany, I am now the proud owner of the two disc, digi version of this album. Disc two, while short, is still a good listen. Now if they just would have recorded a live version of 'Red Sharks'...

Related collections:
Ben Jackson

Back to Index