Greek metallers Crimson Fire appear from the outside to be skewered on the horns of a dilemma with new album Another Dimension. Having proved their mastery of eighties-styled, US-flavoured power metal on last album Fireborn, the 2021 iteration of the band seemingly need to explore new, more melodically-agile areas than of yore. But – and it’s a big but, a potentially career-stifling but – whilst on the face of it they are ready to embrace a brave new world of pastel-shaded dust jackets and keytar mayhem, they just can’t give up the whiff of denim and leather in the nostrils and the righteous clang of metal in the air. That’s right – on Another Dimension, Crimson Fire find themselves wedged firmly between two stools, as it were…
Luckily, they are adept enough at each style to turn in highly listenable versions of both, with the opening, fast-paced, galloping assault of Judas assuaging the fears of hardcore metal fans with it’s soaring melodies and muscular riffage. Similarly, the next track, Don’t Fall From The Sky keeps the pace up thanks to some punchy drumming from Andreas Vlachogiannis and a committed vocal from John Britsas that’ll have fans of Gamma Ray punching the air with delight.
But then the band start breaking things up, and the lush synths that usher in On The Edge sound the first alarms for fans looking for another Bad Girl. Me? I’m well known for loving a bit of wimp rock, and I’m not about to start complaining when confronted with duelling synths and axes; the chorus of this track recalls Aussie power metal veterans Lord, as does the superb solo, and quite frankly if this is what the future holds for Crimson Fire you can count me in. But not everybody is as open minded as me, I’m afraid…
Fire Below is made of sterner, some might say Celtic stuff, despite borrowing a little from a certain Kiss Klassik (you’ll know which one when you hear it) as well as Saxon‘s Strong Arm of the Law, whilst Britsas’ excellent vocal turns No Fear from a mundane chugger into a chest-beating anthem. Perhaps the best track here is the stately, pompous Eye of the Storm, which starts out promising to rekindle the fire of Dio but in the end settles for Axel Rudi Pell, in the process utilising a chorus you might find turning up in the qualifiers for the Eurovision song contest.
I’m carping of course – the song actually has a little bit of the wondrous, wild-eyed world of Europe before the commenced counting things down, showing again that’s there’s a strong melodic impulse here lurking under the sturm und drang – an impulse that should certainly be nurtured to this reviewer’s mind.
Sold My Soul is chirpy pop metal with a tang of Turbo thanks to the brightness of guitar tone used by Nick Efetzis and Stelios Koutelis, both of whom are consistently impressive throughout, whilst closer Chasing Time again hints that a slightly less metallic future may lie in store for this band thanks to some bucolic opening keys from Britsas and some backing vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a latter day Uriah Heep opus. The song ends with a bank of keys seemingly appropriated from Survivor‘s underrated Caught In The Game album, which again is a plus in this writer’s book, and I must say that the use of a more melodic edge on Another Dimension certainly added just that to my enjoyment of the album. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think.
Another Dimension releases on August 27th.