Being Canadian myself, it feels good to write about a Canadian band. Not only that, but they're from Toronto, the same city as me! I'm not the biggest fan when it comes to North American metal as a whole. There's just too much thrash and death (don't even get me started on the core movement). Every so often I come across a band that I enjoy, but very few actually blow me away. Starkill and Crimson Shadows are the only two North American bands in recent memory that not only play awesome European-inspired metal but have also gotten major record deals and worldwide recognition.
When Crimson Shadows was first introduced to me by a friend, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that their style can best be described as a blend of my two favourite genres: melodeath and power metal. They've got the fast melodeath guitars with awesome power solos. They've got a super powerful vocalist as well as clean choruses from the lead guitarist. They've got the double kick-heavy drums with the occasional blast beat. And they've got the cheesy but still epic lyrics that you rarely ever find outside of the most powerest of power metal. They call themselves Epic Canadian Metal. The only thing Crimson Shadows is missing in my opinion is some keyboards to make the sound even more epic. If used sparingly like Deals Death or even Starkill, it would add a lot to their sound.
Actually that brings me to my main complaint (err, let's call it a potential point of improvement) about Crimson Shadows. There isn't too much variety in their songs. Looking at Kings Among Men specifically, the only real difference between the songs is their length and if you've learned the words to the chorus yet. Wouldn't it be awesome if there were female vocals added to the chorus of Maidens Call or if the 'kingly' voice in Dawn of Vengeance was used throughout the song to give messages to the captured soldiers? In any case, this is still a young band with only two albums (only one of them being an 'official' record label album) so they have plenty of time to grow. They've done a good job of establishing their sound but this is a band that needs to evolve over time.
An area that doesn't need too much improvement though is their live shows. I was lucky enough to see Crimson Shadows live a couple months after I had first heard of them when they appeared as the local support for an Alestorm show. The epic sound translates really well to a live setting and I can tell the band made a few new fans in the audience. I made sure to help Kickstart (or rather, Indiegogo...go) their recent European tour with Alestorm. These guys make great metal and the only thing they need right now is as some more attention. The band hasn't quite gotten to the point where it's overly profitable yet, hence the need for an Indiegogo campaign. I want to see a band from my city get popular enough that they'll still be making music 20 years from now. Especially one that I've been listening to since their very first album.
If you like songs about epic battles or drinking, be sure to check out Crimson Shadows. There's quite a few young bands that have taken off in recent years and these guys are right up there with the rest of them. They've already got two albums, a record deal with Napalm Records and a European tour under their belts. We'll see what the future holds for these men, but I know for certain that the last time I saw them live won't be my last.
You can find Crimson Shadows at the following sites: