Back in 1998, Crimson Moonlight released an EP titled Eternal Emperor. The album went out of print fairly quickly and is now a rare item. Those who are lucky enough to win a copy on Ebay usually pay a pretty high price. Earlier in 2003, the band released the incredible Covenant Progress, which has become one of the most highly touted black metal releases of the year. With the release of their first full length, cries have went up for the band to re-release their hard to find EP. Now thanks to Rivel Records, the EP has been re-released with many bonuses!
Songs from the Archives is a terrific compilation, if you will, that is jam-packed with 20 songs and over 75 minutes of Crimson Moonlight, covering their career from 1998 to the present. All of the music was remastered by Veni Domine guitarist, Torbjorn Weines, at the Room of Doom in Soilentuna, Sweden.
The first five songs are their Eternal Emperor EP. This EP is a pretty good release of symphonic black metal. The song "Where Darkness Cannot Reach" has been in the top 25 of black metal songs on mp3.com for at least 3 or 4 years. The EP also includes two beautiful instrumentals to go along with the raging black metal fury.
Songs six through thirteen are a live recording from Varsas, Sweden in September 1998. Obviously, with it being a live recording, the sound quality goes down a bit here, but it's not all that bad. I do not own their first demo The Glorification of the Master of Light, so I don't know the tracklist on that album, but my guess is that most of the songs here with foreign song titles are from that demo.
Song fourteen is the awesome "Blood Covered My Needs" from the In the Shadow of Death compilation that Endtime Productions put out a few years ago. Incredibly intense song that showed a big progression from the band's demo and EP.
Songs fifteen through eighteen are from the rare Heralding the Dawn EP. It is my understanding that the band used this EP to shop for labels and was not ever officially released. The song "Touch of Emptiness" starts things and if you've heard this song off the Power from the Sky compilation on Rivel Records, you know that this is a song that you gotta hit repeat over and over again. Great symphonic black metal song with lots of extremes between beauty and harshness. This song actually was my pick for song of the year in 2002. Next up is a beautiful instrumental called "Your Face". You know, I never want Crimson Moonlight to stop making extreme metal, but it would be cool if they would release an album with just instrumentals. Songs like "Symphony of Moonlight", "Your Face", "The Covenant", etc...are absolutely breathtaking. This band shows so much talent whether they are kicking your tail with extreme metal or hypnotizing you with their gorgeous soundscapes. The EP finishes with "...And Thus Rejoice" and "A Thorn in My Heart". The latter of which shows up as a different version on their new album.
The final two songs are "Mist of the Spiritual Dimension" and "A Painting in Dark" from their latest album The Covenant Progress. Two killer songs that make this album end with a bang!
The tracklist is incorrect in two instances on the back of the CD case. "Touch of Emptiness" is incorrectly labeled "Your Face" and vice versa. Then "Mist of the Spiritual Dimension" is incorrectly labeled "The Pilgrimage". So don't think they went and changed song titles on you.
Overall, I'm thrilled that Rivel has made this release available! It would've been cool to have some more elaborate packaging along with lyrics and maybe a band history write-up, but hey, you can't really complain. It's better to spend $15 on these 20 remastered songs than to spend twice that on Ebay for just the first 5 songs on this disc. This is a must get for Crimson Moonlight fans as we await their next recording....which I hear should be sometime in 2004. (Review by Matt)