1. Crimson Dust
2. New Life
3. Haunting Symphony
5. The Killing Joke
6. In A Heartbeat
7. Between The Sleepers
8. Days Before You Died
10. Fading Like A Flower
A debut album is always great fun to review. Going into it with very little idea of what you’re going to be listening to always leads to a great audio experience, and if you are lucky you end up with an album that absolutely knocks your socks off.
And in the case of 'Crimson' by Volturian, it knocked my socks off so hard that I’ve had trouble finding them again! This is a great album. It embraces a great variety of sounds and styles, and feels like an absolute best of the Symphonic Metal genre, hitting all the right notes throughout its lean thirty-five minute runtime.
Opening with a scene-setting instrumental that is only a minute long, the album comes roaring out of the gate at full speed with “New Life”, a song with a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” attitude that definitely pays off. With a chunky riff, powerful drums and some great keyboards, you are hooked before the vocals even start. And then it just gets better from there.
“Haunting Symphony”, the next track, is a good, mid-tempo number, but then the album takes a leap up with one of my favourite tracks – “Broken”. A brilliant mish-mash of synths, powerful drums and great guitars, coupled with both male and female vocals providing an urgency and power missing from a lot of modern songs, this immediately went onto my “Songs of 2020” spotify playlist.
“The Killing Joke” is the next track, and again, this is one of my favourites. It’s musically interesting, brilliantly played and is the sort of thing I could imagine filling the floor at a Rock club (if we are ever allowed to go to Rock clubs again after this whole pandemic is over!). I’m not going to go through the whole album track-by-track, suffice it to say that the album maintains its quality level throughout, with a special shout out to track 7, “Between The Sleepers”, another favourite of mine, mostly because of the great riff it opens with.
However I do want to mention the final track “Fading Like A Flower”. This feels like a slight departure from the rest of the album – and it took a couple of listens to realise why. This sounds like a Rock single from the 80s. If we lived in an era where singles were still important, this would definitely have been the release that the record company would have assumed has mass appeal. That’s not to take anything away from it, it’s a perfectly good song, but I did find it funny that it seemed to feel like it came from a different band, or at the very least a different album.
In short, 'Crimson' is an album that absolutely deserves your time. With a confidence and excitement you’d expect from a band who are several albums into their career, it’s an absolute home-run. I can’t stop listening to it, and I’m confident that you’ll have the same attitude. Definitely a contender for one of the best debut albums I’ve heard this year.
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Review - Michael Braunton