Crimson Chrysalis – Enraptured
The haunting strains of Crimson Chrysalis’ music have a decidedly theatrical and cinematic air, as if they are budding soundtracks for an epic production, but they are likewise sophisticated musical excursions and contain loads of evidence that the band, at heart, are storytellers. Perhaps their storytelling style isn’t entirely conventional. However, listening with an open mind to Enraptured clearly reveals a band capable of suggesting more and reaching deeper with their orchestrated approach to music-making than dozens of other bands. Enraptured is a fully realized work on multiple levels.
Enraptured opens in darkness. “Soul Stalker” shows the band exploring the darker side of human nature and the track goes far towards defining and embodying the aforementioned approach. Crimson Chrysalis, with a minimum amount of effort, turns a relatively middle of the road song into a full-on musical threat that starts the album off on a note of dread. “Surrender” is a half-ballad cast in a much more seductive mold and singer Rene van den Berg proves her mettle with shifting subject matter and style alike. “Elegy” and “Sacred Vow” forms a tandem of sorts as the first real examples of the band’s grand symphonic style on the album. The preceding songs aimed at a more art rock vibe, but these tracks and more to come wallow full on classical influences and exploit them compellingly. The latter track, however, is particularly effective thanks to its slightly rougher, more impassioned edge.
“Infinity” joins their ranks with its lush, heavily orchestrated first half soon varying with minimalist bridges and thunderous drumming. Listening to van den Berg’s voice never crack or relent for a second against the tidal musical force sweeping around her is practically a visual moment, but she stands steadfast throughout the song, giving it just as good as she gets. The album’s two best songs, “Enlightenment” and “Burning Fire with Fire”, are twinned together, but the connections end there. The former is much more nuanced song with softer surfaces and a more introspective air while the second is much more turbulent and features guest vocalist Jessica Mercy. “Fear” follows an ever restless musical Muse, but it’s a satisfying track thanks to its off the wall energies. The breakneck shifting between passages asks a lot out of a relatively brief track for this genre, but the changes are compelling enough to keep listeners involved. “The Raven” isn’t an adaptation of Poe’s poem, but it is a surprisingly raucous and raw rocker that benefits from an equally surprising van den Berg vocal that takes the gloves off and proves she can sing anything she wants. The album finishes with another reflective moment on the song “Grace” and the low-fi setting gives the band’s lyrics a chance to shine and garner deserved attention.
Enraptured will impress many listeners with its imagination, control, and occasional moments of aching intimacy. Crimson Chrysalis doesn’t sound anything at all like someone from another country and the eleven songs on their new album have refreshing and skillful directness.
8 out of 10 stars