Crimson Chrysalis: Crimson Passion Cry

Get your Goth on with the south Africans' symphonic debut.

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

South Africa doesn't scream 'hotbed of contemporary music' Inmost of us. But while Crimson Chrysalis vocalist/ mainwoman Rene van den Berg began her career with Afrikaans folk songs, this must be a musical theatre production in the making — riding the 21st century tide of sexy vampires, horny werewolves eta), Ominous orchestral strings swell, crunching guitar soars through, and twinkling notes feed in, hinting at Keith Emerson's more recent orchestral works in the sprawling yet commanding likes of Fatal Lie. Metallic, Tool-esque riffs lend cool to Rene powerhouse howls (the stuff of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's dirtier dreams), even if they often trail off too quickly.

Lyrically, there are some cringy moments: ‘the hungry demon that bleeds me dry. Angels cry, babies cry, Methodists get involved in Blood Diamond, and Fuck Off And Die offers uncomplicated grrl-power spit-along. It’s worth persisting with: amid all the bosom-heaving there emerges some compelling symph-goth-prog. Though it probably won’t sway the Nightwish-baiting, anti-symphonic metal types, anyone who secretly digs that epic, black lace/tortured soul shtick should investigate pronto.