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Crimson Dawn - "In Strange Aeons..." (CD)

Crimson Dawn - "In Strange Aeons..." CD cover image

"In Strange Aeons..." track listing:

1. Forge of the Aeons (2:26)
2. Tower of Sin (6:16)
3. March of the Masters of Doom (5:10)
4. Black Waters (7:47)
5. The Haunted Monastery (1:45)
6. Scorge of the Dead (4:45)
7. Crimson Dawn (3:33)
8. Cosmic Death (7:22)
9. Siege at the Golden Citadel (9:25)
10. Over and Over (Black Sabbath Cover) (5:56)

Reviewed by on August 26, 2013

"Stellar production captures the dark dungeon essence of doom binding the beefy seven string riffs, pristine quality vocals, and downright trippy keyboard work."

When Drakkar’s Dario Beretta decided to resurrect the long slumbering Crimson Dawn project (originally co-founded by Crown of Autumn master musician Emanuele Rastelli), it piqued my interest since it seemed that project had so much potential with the “A Dawn in Crimson” demo released in 2006. On top of that, Beretta’s new vision for the project was a full band with a significantly doomier edge than the power metal of Drakkar. With his admiration for Iommi and all things Candlemass, the expectations were high for the epic Italian doom – often mislabeled as power metal – where meaty riffs and 70’s elements are abound. The resulting album – “In Strange Aeons…” is exactly that, and much more. Stellar production captures the dark dungeon essence of doom binding the beefy seven string riffs, pristine quality vocals, and downright trippy keyboard work.

Joining Beretta is veteran vocalist Tony Pecere (Betoken/Deimos/Rapid Fire), bassist Alex Romagnoli, drummer Luca Lucchini (Ex-All Souls Day), guitarist Marco Rusconi, and keyboardist Lele Laghi. Together, they meld elements of Candlemass and Black Sabbath with a spice of Blue Cheer and Deep Purple for one of the most modern 70’s sounds I’ve heard – somewhere between the dated Orchid and the Italian Candlemass In Aevum Agere. Pecere has incredible range and shows the entire breadth of it here. As great as the riffs of Beretta and Rusconi are, they would seem one dimensional if not for Laghi’s spellbinding keyboard work. Attempting to envision the album without his keys would simply render it ordinary. Romagnoli and Lucchini are such a solid rhythm core, but Romagnoli’s biggest strengths lie in the incredible arrangements.

So this is doom, which means you can expect slow dirgy anthems that knuckle drag to an average of 8 minutes, right? Sure…”In Strange Aeons…” has its three tracks at 7 minutes plus, with the longest, “Siege at the Golden Citadel,” clocking in at 9:25. However, scattered throughout the release (not counting the two intro instrumental pieces), the average track length is just about 5 minutes. I’m sure there some are fans that will find “Siege” and its 7+ minute counterparts (“Black Waters” and “Cosmic Death”) a bit too lengthy “to handle,” but when you consider the mastery of the artistic work…track length is meaningless.

“Tower of Sin” sets the tone with a blasting grinder with Pecere dabbling in the deep vocal pools only to eventually show the wrath of his full potential. Like an ode to a hallowed union of dirge of Iommi and Bjorkman, the riffs overwhelming speak of doom. Laghi trades blows as guitar and keys battle in the songs midsection. “March of the Masters of Doom” picks up the pace, adding a more speedy power metal riff. This song contains one of the coolest solos on the release. “Black Waters” is the best example of what Laghi brings to the band - evoking the late great Jon Lord at the 2:29 mark. This suite, along with the equally cascading “Siege at the Golden Citadel,” represents the strongest songs on the album by far, with the much more audibly complex “Siege” winning by a neck. The addition of the rarely covered (if ever) Black Sabbath song “Over and Over” is a truly great bonus.

If you fancy yourself a doom metal fan, or merely a fan of Sabbath, Deep Purple, or Candlemass – then “In Strange Aeons…” is an absolutely essential addition to your collection. With more and more stoner style doom bands overwhelming the scene, it is refreshing to see more a more epic doom metal act balanced with nods to the 70’s rather than making it the focal point. All the elements are there to please a true fan of doom.

Highs: Well balanced doom album with beefy riffs, stellar vocals, and amazing keyboard work.

Lows: Some fans might find parts a bit lengthy.

Bottom line: Crimson Dawn rises from its Haunted Monastery and stabs at the heart of epic doom!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)