Reviews roundup – Crimson Chrysalis vs. Connie Francis vs. Black Sand

CRIMSON CHRYSALIS EnrapturedCRIMSON CHRYSALIS
Enraptured
Musik and Film

Album number two from South African symphonic metallers Crimson Chrysalis and, my, but it’s a good one.

I’m a sucker for bombast, and when it’s allied to some pop melodies and dark moods, then so much the better.  And mainwoman Rene van Den Berg and his cohorts certainly know how to pull off a melancholic mood.

Right from the opening ‘Soul Stalker’ you can tell you’re going to be in vintage territory, and the mix of keyboards and guitars throughout the album works just perfectly.  ‘Sacred Vow’ is my favourite by far, a song that matches anything the masters (and mistresses) of the genre have managed to achieve.

There are a couple of guest vocal slots, and when ‘Elegy’, featuring Andrea Casanova and ‘Burning Fire With Fire’ with Jessica Mercy arrive, it actually moves things even further up the league table of quality.  This is essential listening for fans of symphonic metal.

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CONNIE FRANCIS The Singles CollectionCONNIE FRANCIS
The Singles Collection
Not Now

I always had a soft spot for oor Connie, and if you’re in the market for a collection of her early material, it doesn’t get much better than this 3 disc, 60 track collection.

It covers the period 1957 – 1962, when she was at her commercial peak, and it’s chock full of all the big hits like ‘Who’s Sorry Now’ and ‘Lipstick On Your Collar’ as well as flip sides and flops.  Her three Billboard No 1’s are present and correct – ‘Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool’, ‘My Heart Has A Mind of Its Own’ and ‘Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You’.  She could handle the big ballads just as well as the perky fifties pop, and there are plenty of both to enjoy on this triple album.

The one downside is that it’s not in chronological order, which would have given a better flavour of her early career, and the sleeve notes are skimpy in the extreme.  However. it’s a lot of music for not many pennies, and is well worth a visit.

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BLACK SAND Stand UpBLACK SAND
Stand Up
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Time for some seventies soft rock / yacht rock, courtesy of German band Black Sand.  They’ve been at this a long time, because this seems to be their thirteenth album in a career that stretches back to mainstays Walter Weber and Richard Pfanzeiter forming their first band back in 1974.  So they’re doing something right.

It’s very laid back, with a surfeit of melodies which will appeal to fans of America and their ilk.  There is some excellent guitar work, and when they bump into a good ballad, it will warm the cockles of many a Michael McDonald or Alessi Brothers fan.

Of course, it’s not up their with the originals, but they’ve made a fair fist of this, even it does end up being filed under pleasant rather than essential.

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