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Nothing Essential, But Worthy Of Inclusion - 85%

OzzyApu, October 28th, 2009

These two tracks, while not exactly a song, are mandatory inclusions to The Crimson Idol. While the album plays the story with monolithic track after track, these two are accompanied only by Lawless and an acoustic guitar crying in the background. Blackie doesn’t sing the story, but tells it with his subtle, deep voice, which I’ve always found rather intriguing. The first time you hear him speak you may feel curious as well, since it’s especially deep and dry. His voice is a calm, but on both pieces he never really accentuates any words; what he says in such a clear, guilty tone proves more powerful than going over-the-top with it. Then again his delivery is escorted by an acoustic guitar, playing the same tune found at the end of “The Invisible Boy” on The Crimson Idol.

No other instruments are included; just Blackie and this acoustic sidekick tell the haunting rise and fall of Jonathan Steel. The acoustic tune is reserved and mainly serves in the background as Lawless himself is the focus of both tracks. Don’t go in expecting anything other than a fictional story, told as Blackie felt was necessary without the riffs. It gives a whole lot more depth to the album; more character, life, and lasting value. Its nothing I’d hear time and time again, but once in a while I wouldn’t mind putting these two on and relaxing – its that chill.

The first half consists of Jonathan growing up, finding imbalance in his life, and running away. The second half tells of him finding inspiration in music, falling victim to the evils of the music industry, becoming a superstar, and the spiral of suffering that’ll eventually find him taking his life. It’s no big secret, and I recommend you hear the album first to grasp the concept before you hear this one. It’ll make the experience much more heartbreaking – knowing that everytime this story is told, Jonathan is meant to die. He serves as a martyr for all aspiring musicians; a hero who can be passed down from one generation of musicians to the next.

Its great that they included this on a separate disc for the reissue of The Crimson Idol, so that many listeners who choose to hear this at least have it available. It isn’t compulsory to hear it, but if you want a new layer to work with, then this is a fantastic offering. Blackie made the right choice when he put a lot of effort into this album, as it tells a tale that anyone looking to be an artist needs to hear.