Being in a touring band comes with many great pleasures. One of which is the plethora of musical talent you get to meet along the way. Crimson Star are a band I am yet to meet on my travels, but based on their EP "Bay View", due for release on October 23rd, I hope that changes really, really soon.
Firstly, when you read that an EP has been recorded and mixed by Romesh Dodangoda, you know it’s going to be flawless. “Bay View” is no exception to that rule. The other thing you immediately know is that it’s going to sound huge. Again, no surprises to be found on this EP.
So what about the songs that James Shaw (Guitars/Vocals), Roger Ash (Bass) and Ross Edgington (drums) have written? Well, they’re bloody good as well. There are very few traces of Crimson Star’s Birmingham routes in this southern tinged, Royal Blood, Audioslave and early Muse influenced release.
Opener and lead single “The Pragmatist” booms straight in with a big riff and Shaw’s powerful and controlled vocal delivery is immediately on display. He isn’t afraid to push his voice either, as the pre chorus demonstrates. Drummer Edgington is pounding out some solid grooves, which will surely keep audiences heads bobbing along. There’s a really classy bass break from Roger as well giving way to a solo riff that’s slightly reminiscent of Muse’s Knights of Cydonia. A sterling start from the Brummie boys.
“La Prom” is a straighter Alt Rock track, drawing heavily on the aforementioned Audioslave and sounding like a punchier “Like a Stone”. The track has a big chorus with some lovely guitar effects in the verses which are very tasteful.
Amongst my friends I am widely known as being a sucker for a big riff and a melody that grabs you and doesn’t let you go. Track 3 “Once” gives me this. It’s a foot stomper with powerful vocal lines during the chorus. This track could easily have been taken from a Royal Blood record. Impressive.
“Euthanise Me” is the breather you have been looking for, in some ways. There are elements of real blues here in the quiet verses which have an almost big band bass line, but with Crimson Star you’re never far away from a big dirgey riff and a heartfelt vocal line (“Euthanise me to get rid of pain, it drives me insane”). The Solo is again tasteful and not self-indulgent and I am once again hearing a really big Muse influence here, showcasing once again the bands varying skill set.
Final track “Gimme Some” is a punch in the face. The most driven and fast paced of the five tracks on offer; it contains another huge riff and bouncing drum parts with the bands now trademark epic chorus.
Birmingham has always been a hot bed for Rock and Metal music. Based on this release, Crimson Star are here to make sure that doesn’t change.