Primary URL: http://crimsonchrysalis.com/
Soaring symphonic rock with a baroque atmosphere and metal stylings is the order of the day from South Africa’s Crimson Chrysalis. Fronted by the climactic, powerhouse vocals of Rene van den Berg; the music ranges from sweeping operatic passages with heavy guitar riffs and orchestral arrangements holding court from a lofty position in the sky. If Lacuna Coil would have kept their original classical style mixed with metal (minus the growled male vocals), then they might have ended up in this ballpark, which isn’t a bad place to be.
On Enraptured, the project radiates a worldly power that transcends genre for something truly special. An Evanescence clone this isn’t. “Soul Stalker” opens up hard with pounding keyboards, a rumbling bass presence, thundering drums and metal guitars dancing in tandem with the somber synth melodies. At the center of the tempest Rene stands strong carrying the lyrics to incredibly hi plateaus. The waltzing “Surrender” trades tasteful, rock oriented lead guitar shots with gloriously conducted strings. An ethereal, mid-tempo crunch runs throughout much of “Elegy” and its engaging vocal duets.
“Sacred Vows” opens with a piano sonata, slowly building up to the introduction of strings and eventually delivering a fully bombastic barrage of melodic, harmony-minded guitar riffs at a grand scale. The vocals absolutely captivate from the first note to the last. It seems like “Infinity” is conjured from a darker place with singing adopting a gritty, smoky baritone amongst cycling, marching arrangements that are as loud as they are pretty. The straight heavy metal mania of “Burning Fire with Fire” has an intense, pulsing rhythm attack on hand, featuring some of the most aggressive drumming and bass on the album. In terms of its guitar riffs, this is a track that will get the feet stomping and the head-banging.
Acoustic guitar is a focal point of “Enlightenment.” Electric instrumentation is softly added during the track’s procession but for the most part this song remains a true to the heart ballad that fans of Blackmore’s Night would probably enjoy. Things get almost Metallica hard on the crunching, forward driving groove of “Fear.” Flute is added to the equation on the folksy dreamworld conjured up by “The Raven.” When you least expect it, the song practically catapults itself in your direction like a runaway wrecking ball intent on destruction. Closing couplet “Virgin Death” and “Grace” piles on the classical music goodness and could both be part of the soundtrack to the greatest romance movie ever made.
Crimson Chrysalis plays genuine music straight from the soul with the ability to appeal to fans of many different genres. The entire effect is like going to see a huge musical production conducted by a maestro. Rock, folk, metal, world, classical and opera are combed on Enraptured to create an album that really doesn’t sound a lot like anyone else out there. When you top if it off with the jaw-dropping vocal talents of Rene van den Berg; there is no denying the greatness. In a musical climate dominated by “formula” and “cookie cutter” pop, Crimson Chrysalis stands high above the pack.
9 out of 10 stars.