Friday, August 21, 2009

Criminal Intent

CRIMES OF PASSION – “Crimes Of Passion” CD ’08 (Vigilante, Eng) – The man is hot. I’m on fire. Just ask my wife, she’ll tell you. Seriously, I’ve been on a pretty damn good run of unearthing some bad-assed gems. Talent? I dunno, probably dumb luck knowing me, but I’ll take it, baby. See, two Saturdays ago I’m down at The Soundgarden in Fells Point, MD. I had a few loose bucks so I snagged the new Accused, Giant Squid and a Ripple Effect recommendation, The Ugly Suit. I’m then doing my “Various A-B-C…” scan when…hmmm…what’s this? Kinda hard to read… “Grimes…no…oh, CRIMES OF PASSION.” 2008 release, neat-looking comic book-style cover art, tombstones, etc. 4-piece band & the guitarist is listed as “lead guitar.” You have to understand that the “lead” part tells you something. It strongly implies “solos.” (You don’t see the dude in Staind listed as “lead guitar” too often, eh?) And, of course the sticker on the front says “Import - $ 23.99.” Ouch. I’m already at my quota with the other 3 discs & this one is nothin’ but a hunch. With that, James Hetfield starts growling “That was just your life!” and I realize it’s my cell phone…my wife calling. “I’ll be home soon, how ‘bout you?” “Yep, ‘bout a half hour.” “Can you pick up some milk?” “Sure, will I kill us if I spend an extra $ 24? I found something cool.” “Sure, that’s fine.” Manna from heaven. I’m on fire, just ask my wife.

Still, all the way home in my CD-player-less van, I’m thinking about what bill the $ 25.44 (incl. tax) could’ve gone toward. Got home, things to do and the disc sat in the bag with the others till late that night when the house quieted down & I had some Realm time. CRIMES OF PASSION slid into the player and I sat back, holding my breath. A wash of acoustic guitar comes in and when the melodic leads start, I could be listening to a Gary Moore intro circa. “Corridors Of Power.” Then…BANG! Aggressive riffing flows into a super-cool stop-start verse. Before I even have time to think, I’m pinned to my seat by a chorus laced with hooks so deep I already have it burned into my brain. “The Me I Lost” then empties into the melodic intro to “God Made Me Your Angel” and even now, I know I’ve got something here. Once the mid-paced riff-storm of “Unbreakable” begins, I’ve got my air guitar on “kill” and a smile a mile wide across my face. Imagine a cross between A7X, Queensryche around “Empire,” Riot during “Innishmore” and a touch of early GNR. Then inject it with a motherfucking kick-ass production worthy of a name like, oh, maybe Chris Tsangrides. And, so it goes…for 7 more songs. All different, all great as shit, nary a let-up. Dale Radcliffe’s vocals are mid-to-upper range and tuneful as hell, like a more rock & roll Bruce Dickinson. The rhythm section of Kev Tonge (drums) and Kris Hudson-Lee (bass) is solid as a damn oak tree and my, oh my, what a find is guitarist Andy Lindsay! This dude comes across like a razor-sharp mutation of the late Criss Oliva, Chris DeGarmo & a little Slash (in the “Appetite...” days). With both a rhythm sound nasty enough to put treads on your face and a lead tone as sweet as SRV, I think we’ve got a new Realm star, people.

Naming highlights on an album like this would be useless because there isn’t a weak spot and that’s what puts this, COP’s debut (!!!) full-lengther over-the-top. Every song here, while hard as nails, is still as melodic as hell and filled with enough hooks to create a nightmare for the biggest shark in the ocean. Some things still stand out as the crème de la crème, though. The chorus in “Pretty In Blood” may be one of the most infectious ever. Really. The solo in “Die Alone” would have people like Mark Reale shaking his head and the funk-laden coda of “Exit Wound” is as cool and surprising as it is testicle-smashing. Never had your balls kicked in so memorably, eh?

There is very little else I can say about CRIMES OF PASSION except to make a very true statement. Their debut album is an absolute Raysrealm Classic and any one into hard rock and melodic metal needs to buy it now. The man is hot. I’m on fire. Just ask my wife, she’ll tell you. Murder One


Kris Hudson-Lee said...

... dude - I played bass on this album, not Simon Fearn.

raysrealm said...

Hey man, good to hear from you and sorry for the miscue. I'll fix it now. Great work on the album, man, are you still involved with the band?

Kris Hudson-Lee said...

I quit the band in early 2008 - I'm now in Manning and enjoying it soooooo much.

I still occasionally see the rest of the band though - and the new bassist is certainly a worthy replacement.