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  • Fireworks Magazine 72 October 2015

    Symphonic Rock has grown over the years to become a major force in the Rock world with the likes of Nightwish and Within Temptation blazing a trail along with Epica and their ilk not far behind.

    It's fair to say that the bulk of the Symphonic bands tend to hail from Europe and Scandinavia (in particular) however, Crimson Chrysalis from South Africa look to break that stranglehold with their second album 'Enraptured'. Built around the powerful, expressive and rich voice of Rene van den Berg, CC offer something just a touch different to the usual Symphonic Rock band.

    Crimson Chrysalis featured in Fireworks Magazine 72

    Album opener 'Soul Stalker' is an absolute monster. A sinister tinkling piano refrain combined with van den Berg's golden voice makes for an impressive start and when the chorus kicks in, it all gets suitably overblown. After a few listens this will be ingrained in your mind for days.

    The following tracks take a slight left turn heading in a more Broadway direction and that is no criticism. 'Elegy', with an excellent duet with Andrea Casanova (Rainover) could quite easily feature in a big stage production while 'Sacred Vow' would not sound out of place in 'Evita'.

    The Rock element comes more to the fore on 'Raven' and 'Burning Fire With Fire' with its beautiful sirens call opening and Eastern-flavoured riff which will appeal to lovers of more traditional Symphonic Rock. 'Enlightenment', with its haunting melody and dreamy vocal, evokes memories of the Mary Fahl-fronted October Project, just sit back and let that velvet melody drift over you.

    'Enraptured' as an album may well not be to everyone's taste. To some listeners the "Musical" element may be off putting but it is worth persevering with as there is some breath-taking orchestration and choral passages that combine to devastating effect with van den Berg's emotive vocals. 'Infinity' is the perfect example of the latter; it's big, dramatic and totally captivating.

    Crimson Chrysalis have come up with something just a little bit different to the average Symphonic offering and it may be just enough for them to cross over from a purely Rock audience into the mainstream and in turn draw fans in from the mainstream into the Rock world.

    Mick Burgess

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