I still remember well when in 1998 an unknown band named BRIMSTONE broke into the scene with “Carving A Crimson Career”, their first and only release to date (it was originally released via TPL Records in 1998, but then Nuclear Blast licensed it and re-released it), and a then fairly original approach: Power Metal with harsh vocals. CHILDREN OF BODOM’s groundbreaking debut “Something Wild” had just hit the year before (the original release) and the Swedes were a little less over-the-top in the technical approach, but preferred a more “regular” Power Metal sound in the musical department.
Eight years have passed since then an Metal Mind Records have taken the liberty to re-release “Carving A Crimson Career” in a nice DigiPak with gold disc and it actually is interesting to see how different this album sounds with several years under its belt, especially since I’ve heard a lot of other bands going into similar directions in the mean time. Well, I had rated this disc with seven out of ten points back then and anno 2008 it all of a sudden has added a full point? How come? Well, for one it actually is refreshing to hear this style without any keyboards (ok, hardly any), as most other bands are quite fond of the keys within this style, making the BRIMSTONE sound a lot more grounded and somewhat purer. With the exception of not being as technical, the main difference to the aforementioned CHILDREN OF BODOM is that Jan-Erik Persson’s voice is more the “regular” hoarse Death Metal growl as opposed to the rather screamed vocals of Mister Laiho.
As far as the songs go, “Breaking The Waves” is a furious double-bass-driven opener, before “Pagan Sons” opens out with an epic intro that then gives way to an equally epic mid-paced stomper that embraces the traditional Heavy Metal from the 80s to its fullest, while “Autumn” sees a return to the all-out Power Metal fury that the opener already had originally unleashed. The acoustic intro to the title track is a welcome difference to many bands of BRIMSTONE’s ilk, giving a little oasis of tranquility before the sawing guitars and thundering double-bass take centre stage for another tour de force. Now while originality still is not the Swedish duo’s strength, the sheer intensity and immediate catchiness of their songs are definitely more than enough to win me over. And the more often I hear it now, the more I like it actually, it is rather nice to re-acquaint yourself with albums like this one, just listen to the nice arpeggios of “Tunes Of Thunder”...
“Heavy Metal Kid” had been my main beef with the album originally, as I thought it was unnecessarily bringing down the album and I still maintain this standpoint, as it is plodding, lacks dynamics, memorability, cool melodies, basically almost everything. So while the album already is on the short side with 40 minutes to begin with, leaving this one off would have helped it...
Anyways, “Carving A Crimson Career” actually was a really cool album that didn’t get the recognition it would have deserved and I would have loved to hear a second album, where they could have worked in more experience, but it just was not meant to be. Still, if you like this kind of genre mix, there are a lot of far worse releases than BRIMSTONE’s one-off, which I definitely count among the more “worthy” albums!
(Online December 11, 2008)