New CRIMSON GLORY Singer On Upcoming Album: ‘There’s A Lot Of Hat Tipping To MIDNIGHT’

In a new interview with The Metal Command, CRIMSON GLORY guitarist Ben Jackson spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s upcoming studio album. The effort will be CRIMSON GLORY‘s first release to feature the group’s new lineup, which also includes Jeff Lords (bass) and Dana Burnell (drums) along with the group’s latest additions, lead vocalist Travis Wills of the Dallas, Texas progressive power metal band INFIDEL RISING and guitarist Mark “Borgy” Borgmeyer of the Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida hard rock act THE LOST BOYS.

“The album’s coming along really well,” Ben said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “We have about half the songs written and a few more in the works. So we have a bunch of material we’re working on, definitely enough for an album. And we’re all excited, as it’s going on very well. So I would think maybe a release time for this might be fall of next year, hopefully. We’ll see how that goes.”

In January, CRIMSON GLORY released the official lyric video for the first single to feature the band’s new lineup, a song called “Triskaideka”. Travis told The Metal Command about the fan response to the track: “At first, I was a little nervous when I was reading the comments, but then I was, like, it is what it is. I’m just gonna go out there, do my best and let the chips fall where they fall. The guys [in the band] obviously like what I’ve been doing with the songs, and that’s really important. It’s really important that the that the fans of the band dig it, and I’m really glad that they got a little glimpse of what my voice kind of steers toward that they can get on board with that.”

He continued: “I’ve seen some real interesting comparisons, and while I don’t hear it, I’m glad to read it. So that makes me happy, especially the Warrel Dane [comparison]. I’m, like, I don’t hear it, but I’ll take that. And, of course, the kind of Midnight [original CRIMSON GLORY singer] overtone, I’m very glad to do that.

“Man, I’ll tell you what, I was really scared going — not scared, but just nervous going into it, because when you’re stepping into a legendary vocalist[‘s shoes], there’s a lot of weight that is on your shoulders,” Wills admitted. “And I had to think about it, if this is something that I feel like I could do. And I thought about it, and I’m, like, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ And I’m glad that these guys trust me to bring that to the band.”

Jackson and Wills also talked in more detail about the musical direction of the new CRIMSON GLORY material, with Ben saying: “We’re trying to go back more towards the roots of the band, like the sound and style of the first two albums [1986’s self-titled LP and 1988’s ‘Transcendence’]. So it’s kind of a conscious move, that that’s what we’re going for. The third and fourth album [1991’s ‘Strange And Beautiful’ and 1999’s ‘Astronomica’] were a little different in style, and it just seems that the fans have always really embraced and loved the first two albums the most, so we’re going to try to recapture that sort of vibe and sound for this new album.”

Travis said: “I really liked the [first] single that came out… But I think the stuff that we’ve got for the new album is just stellar, and fans are gonna be really pleased. There’s a lot of hat tipping to Midnight in it, and there’s a lot of revisiting the sound from the first two albums. So I think everybody’s gonna be really pleased.”

Jackson went on to say that the new CRIMSON GLORY music sounds “pretty close” to “Crimson Glory” and “Transcendence”. “Obviously we’re different now and we’re evolving, as a band should,” he explained. “It might have a little more modernisms about it, it might sound a little more modern. The production will probably be a little better and more modern than the productions on the first two albums because of things that you can do today in the recording world. The first album, when I listen to it, it sounds thick and everything, but the production’s a little dated. Stylistically, the way we’re writing, I think it’s really right up the alley of what we were doing then. And, obviously, Travis is gonna bring something new to this, because he’s a different guy, he’s his own guy. Like he says, on some of these songs, he does little things that sort of tip the hat to the Midnight vibe, but he’s really an original, and that’s what we needed in a new singer. We didn’t want a Midnight clone. We wanted somebody who was special, a real original. And we have that. Travis is very special, very original.”

Last month, Jackson told The Rock N’ Roll & Coffee Show about how CRIMSON GLORY decided to become active again: “There was this really great singer named Mystique, a guy from Greece, and he was brought to our attention by a friend of ours. And the guy Mystique really caught our attention, got us kind of interested in maybe doing something with the band again. He sounded a lot like [original CRIMSON GLORY singer] Midnight, which was appealing for us at first. And then we worked with the guy for almost a couple of years, writing some songs and discussing the possibility of him joining the band. And ultimately it didn’t really work out with him. We didn’t really agree on everything we were doing with the songwriting, but he was a cool guy. But it didn’t really work out, so he’s gonna go ahead and do a solo album. And we wish him well with that. But that’s kind of what got us reinterested, actually, is our friend bringing this guy to our attention. And when it didn’t work out with him, Jeff and Dana and I were already kind of amped up with some of the new songs that we were working on. And we said, ‘Well, we’ll find somebody and we’ll just do this.’ And we did. We looked at a couple other singers before we kind of happened upon the guy we have now, Travis.”

Asked what excited him about Travis, Ben said: “Well, what excited me was, I guess, he sent us a version of him singing one of our classic songs, ‘Painted Skies’, and it sounded really good; he was really capturing the emotion of the song. And he didn’t sound exactly like Midnight, like he was trying to copycat him; he kind of had his own sound, his own voice, but he was really, really nailing it and sounded really good with it. So I was, like, ‘This guy is something else.'”

Jackson also touched upon the lack of involvement of CRIMSON GLORY‘s founding guitarist Jon Drenning with the band’s current formation. Asked if Jon is contributing to any of the music writing, Ben said: “No, not this time around. He’s just completely away from it. Around 2012, when we were sort of writing with [former CRIMSON GLORY and current QUEENSRŸCHE singer] Todd [La Torre] for what we were gonna make a new album with Todd, we started planning some specific evenings in which we’d all write together, and Jon was just not showing up that much. He came to a few and then sort of slacked off on it. And that’s one of the reasons that led to Todd just kind of pulling out and going full force with QUEENSRŸCHE. And that was over 10, 11 years ago now, and we haven’t really had any contact with Jon in the last 10 years — any of us. We wish him well and everything, but, yeah, I think from the time his son was born, he just kind of removed himself from the music business and wants to play the dad role. And that’s understandable. It’s not really in his priority list right now to be doing music and records and stuff.”

Regarding a possible label home for the new CRIMSON GLORY music, Ben said: “Yeah, we put out the one song, made a lyric video and just put it up on YouTube to just see how people would react to it. And we’ve already had a couple of labels reach out to us and make some offers. We just wanna take a little time and think about it before we just jump on the very first deal that’s presented to us. We just got the single out within this last month, and we’re just gonna let it ride for a little bit, maybe get the second one out. We’re busy working on the rest of the songs. We’re writing and demoing and sharing ideas with each other. And we’ll just see what other labels might come into the mix of the conversation over the next two to four months or so, and I’m sure a deal will be reached between us and somebody.”

Jackson also seemingly ruled out the possibility of CRIMSON GLORY releasing a full-length album without the backing of a record company, saying: “There’s good and bad things about being on a label and also doing it yourself. But I think with a label that there’s so much they can do for us that we probably wouldn’t have time or the resources to do on our own.”

This past December, Drenning said that he “would have loved to be a part of” the band’s reformed lineup, but that his family life has prevented him from being involved in the legendary progressive power metallers’ comeback.

Drenning made his comments one day after it was announced that CRIMSON GLORY was returning with new lead vocalist, new guitarist and immediate plans to release two new singles.

On December 23, 2023, Drenning released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET: “I wish Ben, Dana and Jeff all the best. I would have loved to be a part of this new chapter, but my priorities are not in sync with the band at this juncture. Indeed, being a father has shaped my priorities in ways I could never imagine. Mark Borgemeyer is a good friend and I can’t think of a better candidate to fill my shoes. I share the same enthusiasm as the fans, and there may be another surprise for them around the corner…stay tuned.”

CRIMSON GLORY will play some select European live concert dates in October 2024, including an appearance at Germany’s Keep It True Rising IV festival. More European shows will follow in March and April 2025.

CRIMSON GLORY had been largely inactive since La Torre officially quit the band in February 2013.

La Torre, who joined Seattle-based progressive metal icons QUEENSRŸCHE in June 2012 as the replacement for Geoff Tate, became an official member of CRIMSON GLORY in April 2010 and played a number of shows with the Florida metal act during the two-and-a-half-year period prior to his exit.

A “raw” version of a new CRIMSON GLORY demo track titled “Garden Of Shadows”, featuring La Torre on vocals, was released in September 2012 and was supposed to appear on the band’s new concept record, which was expected sometime in 2013.

In announcing his departure from CRIMSON GLORY, La Torre said that his involvement with QUEENSRŸCHE “had nothing to do” with his decision to leave CRIMSON GLORY, adding that the “main reason” for his “resignation” was “primarily” due to the latter band’s “inertia status.”

La Torre made his first public appearance with CRIMSON GLORY at ProgPower USA X as one of 17 guest performers paying tribute to Midnight.

Midnight passed away in 2009 due to long-term health complications.

Wade Black sang on CRIMSON GLORY‘s 1999 album “Astronomica” and took part in a subsequent European tour.

David Van Landing replaced Midnight briefly for the U.S. tour in support of CRIMSON GLORY‘s third album, 1991’s “Strange And Beautiful”.

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