Even today, despite having known it for most of my years as a metalhead, there’s an enduring brilliance about The Somberlain that endures the test of time.
Florida had a small but fairly vital collective of traditional metal bands in the 80’s, despite them being fairly different from each other. You had Nasty Savage, who were on that Slayer gone Mercyful Fate kick; the lean aggressive and bombast of Savatage, etc. There are perhaps others I’m regretfully missing off the top of my head. The point is that Crimson Glory was arguably the best of that small lot – and this album, in particular, deserves to be mentioned alongside the very best of all time.
Mercyful Fate are great. The End, ~fin~.
The history of Satan is a long and complicated one. Originally formed in 1979, they were musically among the cutting edge of the NWOBHM, but were inundated with quite a few lineup changes, most notably as far as their vocalists go. They ended up changing their name several times over the 80’s – first as Satan, then as the band who did today’s album (Blind Fury), back to Satan for an EP and an album, and then to Pariah for a couple more thrash albums at the end of the 80’s.
I confess to not having more than a passing acquaintance with Lord Vicar as a project until fairly recently. Oh sure, I’d known him as one of the key figures in Reverend Bizarre, but after that group had broken up, I only really checked out the debut and then just kinda forgot about it for the longest time. That is, ‘til someone mentioned they were still around as a project and that they’d put out a new album at the end of April. And thus, here we are today…
Reverend Bizarre are a rather difficult band to reckon with at first. I can tell you myself that I had a difficult time getting a handle on them for years.
The Spectre Within is a peculiar album, both out of context and within the one of Fates Warning’s career to that point. Night on Brocken, their debut, was an album that was frankly, very derivative Iron Maiden worship. It isn’t really a terrible album so much as one that shows a young band very unsure of their direction and what they’d actually want to do (Jim Matheos, the main songwriter of the band, reputedly never liked it very much). I submit that The Spectre Within, its immediate successor, represented one of the biggest leaps of maturity and quality in metal history, at least up to that point. And, for a vanishingly small window, it helped position Fates Warning as one of the unquestioned masters of metal genre, both of their era and of all time.
Pagan Altar’s debut has an odd history all its own. It was originally recorded in 1982 and circulated around the underground as demo tapes for the better part of the 80’s and 90’s, only finally seeing the light of day officially as Volume 1 in 1998, along several other reissues in the years since.