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Crimson Cult - "Tales Of Doom" (CD)

Crimson Cult - "Tales Of Doom" CD cover image

"Tales Of Doom" track listing:

1. State Of Fear (5:08)
2. Behind The Curtain (5:27)
3. Institution Christ (5:21)
4. Coshinja (6:49)
5. The Long Way Home (9:07)
6. Warrior Son (6:26)
7. On The Edge (4:12)
8. Second Life (3:32)
9. Crimson Empire (4:48)
10. The Inquisition (6:29)

Reviewed by on March 15, 2012

"...this band represents one 'cult' that I am ready to join, drink the kool-aid with, and die to find the mothership hidden behind a metallic comet!"

Austria’s Crimson Cult entered the scene in 2008 with a very well respected self-titled debut. The band has returned with “Tales of Doom” and there is absolutely no sign of a sophomore jinx. With the crushing groove laden traditional metal riffs of Günter Maier (Ex-Stygma IV/Ex-Flood Of Ages) and Dio-esque vocals of Walter Stuefer, this band represents one “cult” that I am ready to join, drink the kool-aid with, and die to find the mothership hidden behind a metallic comet!

So many newer bands try to capture the pure essence of traditional metal, but few succeed at doing what Crimson Cult has done in such a short time. By toning the traditional metal sound down slightly to add a brush of doomy glare (similar to Grand Magus) and adding great, albeit slightly raw, production, the band pulls off a winner. It doesn't take long for opener “State of Fear” to knock you in the jaw with a heavy up-tempo riff that throttles you and heightens the senses of what you can expect with the rest of the album. The grooves on tracks like “Behind the Curtain,” “Institution Christ” and “Choshinja” are firmly entrenched in Iommi with a tad less doom, but with just as much punch. "The Inquisition" adds a keen Spanish flair as I half expected Antonio Banderas to provide guest vocals.

The nine plus minute epic “The Long Way Home” is packed with blistering crunchy riffs that command headbanging glory. In all that time it rarely lags, save for the slight slowdown and apparent nod to Pink Floyd with lyrics “Hello, is there anybody out there” and “Dark Side of the Moon” and the final minute acoustic interlude with the screaming baby. The majority of the song punishes the listener like a bat to the skull. Same can be said for “Crimson Empire” and the Saxon like “Second Life.”

With all that said, the track that will get an instant nomination for song of the year from yours truly is the great “Warrior Son.” The song is like a ritual that summons the forces of Dio, Saxon, and Grand Magus into one massive groove riff that lives on in my head from the very first listen. Here, Stuefer sounds creepily familiar to the late Ronnie James Dio.

Equally as great, but in a much different way is “On the Edge,” which is as close to a ballad as “Tales of Doom” allows. It’s a highly enjoyable contrast to “Warrior Son,” especially in its placement just after. The sound has an overtone that reminds me, oddly enough, like a combination of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” When I hear the melody, I cannot stop my mind from singing “Here I am…sitting in a tin can.”

All in all, metalheads should give Crimson Cult some high praise for this really enjoyable traditional metal release. With any luck, this new-new wave of traditional metal, when done as properly as “Tales of Doom,” will catch on and reinforce what was truly lost years ago for many years to come.

Highs: Songs like "Warrior Son" are what make metal the finest music of all.

Lows: Fans of metalcore, nu metal and anything extreme need not apply.

Bottom line: Crimson Cult forces you to drink a giant cup of satiating traditional metal glazed with doom. Now join them!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)