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The Final Solution with the Crimson Shades - 91%

bayern, June 25th, 2018

I got both Realm full-lengths on the same day, and it took me some time to warm up to their complex, multi-layered style. I warmed up faster to Mark Antoni’s very attached, over-the-top high-strung vocals, but couldn’t quite get into the musical layout on the first couple of listens. However, once I got inside, with all the contrived elaborate details comfortably sunk in, I could easily pronounce both opuses milestones on the technical/progressive thrash roster.

It was quite a few years later when it occurred to me that the band could have something else produced, like a demo, an EP, etc. I tracked them all down, including the one reviewed here. The first two were a really pleasant surprise as they revealed a less exuberant, but equally as effective, power/speed metal side, especially the debut one which predated the Ulysses Siren and Have Mercy attempts at more technical execution, siding with Watchtower’s mythical debut as the first two genuine metal “complications” on the US scene.

This swansong here is just two numbers closing on a bit under 10-min. Yes, not much music at all as a farewell gesture, but still a somewhat fitting epitaph to a short lustrous career. The King Crimson cover of “One More Red Nightmare”, later added as a bonus track to the “Suiciety” re-release, is by all means an original choice, the guys carrying on with their traditions to cover rock luminaries from the distant past. If the The Beatles rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” from the debut was sped up and a bit thrash-clad, this one is played quite faithfully, both music and vocal-wise, with the psychedelic atmosphere marvellously preserved alongside the warm protracted vocals dexterously performed by Antoni. A surprisingly successful, not necessarily metal-related, aural treat which is followed by “Cast the First Stone”, the staple for the band hectic shape-shifting technicaller with a few more orthodox fast-paced skirmishes notching up the drama, the latter receiving both a hyper-active and an insistently pounding epitaph.

High on both originality and style, this excellent short instalment preserved the band’s visual flair and could have at least served as a warm-up for a longer exit from the scene. The continuation of the Realm saga under the name White Fear Chain is hardly fondly remembered by many, and not only because of the absence of the emblematic emotional wails of Antoni. The only album (“Visceral Life”, 1996) the others released under this moniker was pretty bland modern post-thrash with an even blander stoner/doomy vibe; by no means as memorable as these two pieces which concluded a short, but fairly eventful journey full of belligerence, nostalgic trips down 60’s/70’s memory lanes, and myriad solutions for all musical troubles and vexations.