Unjustly qualified as one of the '80s best American-made progressive metal albums, Crimson Glory's Transcendence is actually one of the decade's best pure metal albums by an American band, period. Sure, they shared many sonic traits with fellow '80s metal bands like Queensrÿche and Fates Warning, but Crimson Glory's songwriting was relatively straightforward by comparison, and generally shied away from ultra-complex prog rock arrangements employed by their peers. In fact, barnstormers like "Lady of Winter" and "Red Sharks" are almost ordinary in their no-frills headbanging intensity, and even the band's more "progressive" material, such as the ambitious "Burning Bridges" and the very eclectic "Eternal World," don't venture out that far. Instead, Crimson Glory show commendable restraint in their songwriting, and it is singer Midnight who ends up drawing the most unwanted attention due to his now dated, painfully strident delivery. On the other hand, not even the intervening years have managed to dull the sheen of nuggets like the majestically sparse title track or the impressive "In Dark Places," which remains one of the group's crowning achievements, thanks to its instantly recognizable riff. And although their Iron Maiden influences sometimes get the best of them (the Eastern-flavored "Masque of the Red Death" is a near remake of "Powerslave"), Crimson Glory still prove their worth with this excellent release. Sadly, the band wouldn't capitalize on its promise, following it with the disappointing Strange and Beautiful.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia