(Go to this location for Part 1)
By Carl Begai
As previously reported, Crimson Glory frontman Midnight (real name John Patrick McDonald Jr.) passed away on Wednesday, July 8th at 3:30am EST due to kidney and liver failure at the age of 47. During my recent exclusive interview with guitarist Jon Drenning, he discussed the band’s 1999 comeback album Astronomica and its connection to their Strange And Beautiful record from 1991, which was deemed a colossal flop in the wake of their 1988 breakthrough, Transcendence, due to a change in musical direction.
Drenning comments on vocalist Wade Black being tapped as Crimson Glory’s new frontman for Astronomica, making some startling revelations with regards to the writing for the album.
“Nobody could copy Midnight, but Wade fit the Crimson Glory style,” Drenning says of choosing Black, who is arguably the closest they could have gotten to a worthy successor. “Astronomica was originally written and recorded for Midnight. Continue Reading
I’ve been planning to do a Retro Fit of Transcendence for quite some time, as it’s easily in my Top 5 Metal Albums You Need To Own Or Get Out Of My Yard chart, but with the tragic death of frontman Midnight (real name John Patrick McDonald Jr.) on July 8th , 2009 it’s become a tribute to greatness. This would still read as a gushing letter of fanboyship if Midnight was with us, though, because Transcendence was an album that took everything I thought I knew about guitar / vocal / prog shred at the time and twisted it sideways. The band wasn’t being overly experimental or increasingly off-the-wall compared to their self-titled debut from ’86; there was just more of everything. Big, open air production (it could have done with more bottom-end, but them’s small potatoes), twin guitar leads for miles backed by insane shred-ability that never fell into the future Dream Theater trap of being too damn technically proficient for its own good, ballsy and unique song arrangements, and a vocal performance that remains unmatched within the genre. Continue Reading