Crimson Shadows - Glory on the Battlefield
Self released
Speed Metal meets Melodeath
7 songs (46'06)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the Year V2

Glory on the Battlefield is the debut album for Canadian metal warriors Crimson Shadows. The Toronto based band plays a music that is best described as a fusion between Epic Power / Speed Metal and Melodeath. They have three types of vocals, low growls, standard melodeath screams and some clean vocals that are borderline too modern for their own good sometimes (but I don't mind this type of clean vocals myself).

While other bands might have attempted this mix, Crimson Shadows is one of the best examples on how these two styles can mix seamlessly. One glorious album that comes to mind would be Norther's own debut, which music was definitely anchored into Power Metal realm with screaming vocals (one of my all-time favorite album BTW, and I for one wish Norther would have stucked with this style, it would still be a great band today, not the mere shadow of themselves they currently are). Another way of describing Crimson Shadows sound would be Dragonforce meets Children of Bodom (of yore) ! The songs are fast, furiously fast in fact, they sometimes seem even faster (if that is even possible) than Dragonforce one's (definitely often faster than anything on their latest release), and the powerful double bass drumming gives the songs a very heavy foundation on which the majestic and lightning fast guitar work allows the music to shine throughout. The different, mostly Melodeath vocals bring the overall power of the songs to their paroxysm. The vocals can be split into three categories, the low growls which fortunately aren't used too much (this tends to be my least favorite type of vocals and probably why I don't listen Black Metal), the predominant melodeath typical screams (COB is a good example of how they sound), and the clean (almost too clean and modern) ones are mostly used during the epic chorus lines or on some bridges. While it took a while to adapt the clean and growling vocals at first, I find their use to be a spot on decision as it give variety to the songs. After a short and typical Power Metal intro, the first song, Battle Hard, is a pure demonstration of all this melpot in terms of music and singing style and it pays off big, the song is pure sound shockwave and the perfect way to start the album. The second song Beyond The Mountain Wasteland starts at light speed, and then there is no doubt about the influence Dragonforce played for Crimson Shadows, the song is so fast it's almost insane. It stays highly melodic throughout and all three vocal types are used plenty during both verse/bridge and chorus parts. The more I listen to this album the more I find the mix of all these elements to be actually pure genius ! There isn't a single boring moment throughout the album (there are some welcome slower moments even tough they are rare) and while it contains only 7 songs (+1 intro), these songs are quite long (between 5 and 7 minutes) but never boring. They often have long solo parts again reminiscent of Dragonforce, clocking sometimes at 2 minutes or more. The guitar work is simply mind blowing (probably my favorite album guitar-wise now and on par with Ultra Beatdown), they fly all over the place, the riffs are fast and powerful, the solos mind-numbingly fast and technical but they alternate perfectly between shredding and highly melodic moments to achieve this sort of perfect balance between speed and melody. I have no problem calling Crimson Shadows on par with Dragonforce technically when guitars are concerned, and even going the extra mile and saying that I actually prefer their choice of melodies (more epic IMHO). The third song For the Glory of the Throne is another killer track that infuse a little old school Blind Guardian into the bridge, bringing a welcome pinch of nostalgia to this extremly heavy song. The choruses are always epic, some hymn oriented with highly melodic vocal lines. The mix of pure heaviness the rhythm section and aggressive vocals delivers is perfectly balanced by the incredible guitar work and melodies. I could continue talking about the rest of the album but there really is no need, you probably get the picture by now (and this review could be summed up simply by Dragonforce meets COB). This album is so powerful I have trouble finding the right words to do it justice and explain how empowering and pleasurable it is to listen to Crimson Shadows. Glory on the Battlefield could very well be 2012 best Melodeath album (it surely is mine for now !) ! While we are less than a month away from Wintersun's Time I release, I fear that it will be difficult even for the mighty Jari to make an album that can rival this unbelievable self-released debut ! (but if one album can top this it might be Time I). I should also note I had to exercise some fearsome restrain as per my scoring, I believe this quote is the bare minimum I feel confortable I can give the album (I could easily have quoted this higher)

While one could argue the originality of the band, this album delivers some the most powerful, heavy, ultra fast and epic songs I've heard in a long long time... Who knew the mixture of Speed Metal and Melodeath could be so pleasurable ? I'm completely and utterly hooked on Glory on the Battlefield (I've basically only listen to this album for almost two weeks now, probably already 50 times) to the point that it has become a drug for my ears and everything else I try to listen to seems soft (for now at least). It reunites everything I love about Melodeath, Power and Speed Metal. It's Speed Melodeath if you will :). If you like bands like Children of Bodom, Blackguard or Wintersun, as well as Dragonforce, Crimson Shadows is a no-brainer as they successfully managed to pack everything for you to be amazed and blown away from the mix of these styles. That is if you're not bothered by the modern sounding clean vocals (I'm not but I am extremely flexible on that point in general). My current favorite album for 2012 (by far), and definitely on the top spot for my Surprise of the Year list come next January. Canadian bands are coming with great melodeath releases lately (Blackguard is another example), and I'm already impatient to see what's next in store for Crimson Shadow ! If the band reads this I implore them to not make Norther's mistake of trying to go commercial or alter their style in any way after their debut because Dreams of Endless War was a one of kind album and until today it was unique... Now it's been pretty much obliterated by Glory on the Battlefield as far as I'm concerned but I hope that the band can continue to deliver the same type of powerful songs for many albums to come. The album is available on bandcamp (they even give you a song for free, and believe me one song is all you need to make your decision) for 6.66 Can$ (6.85$), at this price only an idiot would pass on it as far as I'm concerned. I love bandcamp cause once you've bought an album you can choose what format you want to download it in (Mp3 320,VBR, AAC,OGG,...etc) and you can pretty much download the album in all format if that's what you want to do. So my advice to you is buy or forever stay ignorant to the ultimate pleasure of Speed Melodeath being brought to life !

Killing Songs :
Absolutely all of them, but for me Battle Hard is out of this galaxy !
Chris quoted 94 / 100
Olivier quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Crimson Shadows that we have reviewed:
Crimson Shadows - Kings Among Men reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 9 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:11 pm
View and Post comments