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Crimson Altar : The Ghost Ship Sails

Crimson Altar are a spankin' new band from London who don't particularly care if you call them a doom band or not. I'm content to do so, but then again my definition of doom casts a wider net than some. Taking their name from the classic cult horror film, this quintet is frankly one of the best bands I've heard in quite awhile, which is all the more amazing since they seemingly sprang out of nowhere.

Crimson Altar will make fans of both old school and new doom happy. But they don't stop there. I hear gothic and doom bands like Lacuna Coil, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Solstice, and Mourn; widely known classic influences such as 'Floyd and Metallica (old, 'natch); and underneath it all a foundation of impenetrable power based (as it should be) on the black riffage of the almighty 'Sabbath. The band is so tight, if it were a grin it would kill a clown: Tony "Sinner" Towey and Ian King are a rhythm unit as heavy and solid as an anvil, guitarists Chris Poore and Allan Lesser can play lightning-fast melodic leads or Iommi-like rhythms with equal aplomb and singer Judy K.......oh man, can this doom sister sing! Such melody and harmony, such dark beauty! Her vocals and romantic, gothic lyrics soar over the epic metal majesty of the rest of the band.

'Sick of Shadows' starts the album off on kickass metal note, with lots of 'Sabbathy chugging and tasty wah and guitar harmonies, steady rhythm, and Judy's gloomy, gothy, beautiful voice bringing it all together. My personal fave is the gorgeous ballad 'Falling'. Jeez, it brings tears to my jaded eyes, no joke! But how about adding on a cool guitar outro? 'Blood on the Hawthorn' follows hard on its heels, a powerful mid-tempo doom monster with wonderful lead guitar. This song, more than any other, shows Crimson Altar as the heir to the late, much-lamented Mourn. 'The Ghost Ship Sails' has a rain-and-tolling-bell intro like the classic 'Black Sabbath', but segues into a classic rock ballad that in turn builds into a metal crusher.

I hope you're one of those folks who can take a little cross-fertilization in your music. I've got my preferences like anyone else, and I don't mind telling you they're pretty old school. But I'm here to tell you I'm happy to have my prejudices blown into the stratosphere, as long as there are groups like Crimson Altar around. If you can take some gothic gloom with your 'Sabbath, or chugging riffs with your Pink Floyd, or.....you get the idea. These folks mix and match it, while remaining a solid doom band. If you can dig on that, then get on their site (above) and figure out how to get a copy of this fantastic demo. If not, then go back to your corner and make a list of "real" doom bands. You'll have to pry my copy out of my frozen, dead hands. [edit by admin.: The reference to a link "above" is a reference to the layout of the old website. I could have re-posted it here, but I don't see the point since the bands website no longer exists.]

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Sick of Shadows
2. My Dark Rose Bleeds
3. Burnt by the Snow
4. Falling
5. Blood on the Hawthorn
6. The Ghost Ship Sails
7. Delirium Despair
8. Within the Tears of Solitude

Duration : Approx. 48 minutes

Visit the Crimson Altar bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
No God Only Pain
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