Crimson Shadows – “Kings Among Men” (Napalm Records)
Behold the power of ale and the riddle of steel! No kidding, the winners of Wacken’s Battle Of The Bands 2013, these Canadians return triumphantly with a sophomore album ready to take them to the next level. Mixing the galloping guitar steeds of Iron Maiden with the melodic majesty of Blind Guardian, Crimson Shadows deliver their charge in epic glory on songs like ‘Heroes Among Us’, ‘Maidens Call’ and ‘Braving The Storm’. Although not as steadfast in their diehard attitude as Manowar, there’s a definite upbeat warrior spirit that delivers tales of salvation and the victory of freedom as told through the mixed gruff war cries of Jimi Maltais backed by the clean soulful harmonies of Greg Rounding and Morgan Rider – and it doesn’t stop there from the high speed twin seraphic guitar work that dances out melody after melody before spitting dragon fire solos – and then leading the next cavalry charge with fret burning riffola – phew! With Cory Hofing’s breakneck drumming and Morgan Rider’s million mile bass runs Crimson Shadows music is spell bounding in stirring hearts as brains meet beauty and the beast in one awesome album! All in all a triumphant return from a young band ready to take on the world with their metal battle balladry as seen through their heroic dreams.