December 18, 2008

Swords of Zeus/Maximum Suction



Lords of the Crimson Alliance
Lords of the Crimson Alliance
1986

Grudge
Barbarians of the New Earth
1986

Lords of the Crimson Alliance are the stuff of legend between me and my good buddy Steve. He made reference to them when he signed my 10th grade yearbook (in 1993), and I have e-mails about them from him as recent as August of this year. These are not bookends to years of silence about The Lords, mind you, but just two examples that illustrate the 15+ years we've discussed this record. I won't go into detail regarding exactly how nerdy these conversations have become over the years; suffice to say, the band has been shrouded in mystery for us from day one.

Well, after digging around a bit, as best I can tell, Lords of the Crimson Alliance were in fact the band Grudge playing under a different name. Grudge operated Grudge Records, the label on which the only Lords album appeared (there was also a Grudge from Billings, MT in the early 00s who were not, to my knowledge, also Lords of the Crimson Alliance). Their sounds are pretty similar: classic heavy metal influenced by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, with a healthy dose of hard rock punching through. It's unsophisticated, sure, but it rocks in the best way. There are plenty of similarities between these records, but they're not obviously the same band either. Lords of the Crimson Alliance adheres to the fantasy style favored by power metal bands, with lyrics about dragons and gods and what have you. The vocalist, Farcry (seriously), shrieks in a manner that could only happen in 1986. Grudge mixes in plenty of hard rock style lyrics (check out "White House Sluts"), and the vocals are a little gruffer, and are actually in the normal range for an adult human male. However, both albums feature almost identical narration, and the drums on both records sound suspiciously like a drum machine. But, you know, production style for hard rock in the 80s was brutal to drummers, so I'm not ready to say 100 percent that this isn't a live drummer. I will say he kind of blows, though, if it is actually a dude. Actually, as I listen to "White House Sluts" right now, I'm quite certain this is a drum machine. Huh.

At any rate, two albums of supreme metal/hard rock here. Check 'em both and decide for yourself: two great bands who both failed to capture anyone's attention, or one great band who failed twice.

Lords of the Crimson Alliance
Barbarians of the New Earth

3 comments:

Steve said...

This really cuts deep. Learning that your high school idols were nothing more than an obscure band's side project is a bummer. I always tried to imagine what one of their live shows would be like, but the painful truth of the matter is that this never materialized to anything more than a studio effort. Its a shame, because my rock & roll fantasy depicted them kicking off a rocking set with the opening rift of "Firedancer" and the crowd would be going bonkers! There would be pyrotechnics for sure. Other fans would be screaming, "Play Arms Of Morpheus!" After hours of rocking the night, they would encore with "The Sorcerer", and the band would invite me up on stage to sit in on drums. It was awesome! To end a perfect night, I would get wasted on the tour bus with Farcry while comparing 20 sided dice. Let me tell you, Cory. This is a tough pill to swallow knowing that none of this will ever happen

cdb said...

Well it's a good thing I left out the details of how nerdy our conversations got.

Steve, don't give up hope. Who knows, maybe they'll decide to do a real tour some day and rather than playing to a drum machine, they'll invite you to join the band. It'll be like Ripper Owens joining Judas Priest.

JP said...

I really liked Lords Of The Crimson Alliance, even if the drum sound was really bad. It sort of makes me feel 13 years old again everytime I hear it.