"The Red Jewel" (Necropolis; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Charmand Grimloch is better known for having been the touring keyboardist for Emperor. However, he is also known as the mastermind behind his one-man band Tartaros. 

"The Red Jewel" is the follow-up to the debut EP "The Grand Psychotic Castle." "The Red Jewel" is very much like Emperor in the sense that it is speedy, dynamic black metal that is for the most part unforgiving and strong in its ability to forge new ground in the black metal genre.

Tartaros' brand of black metal on "The Red Jewel" incorporates atmospheric and psychedelic elements to the black metal genre. And it's nowhere as keyboard heavy as you might expect. Although it's pretty obvious that keyboards were the main instrument for writing the music contained herein, there are plenty of metallic guitars that are prerequisites for the raging black metal style.

"The Red Jewel" is a concept album that supposedly takes its influence from Grimloch's love of horror movies. Apparently the red jewel is a pendant that provides a window to a metaphysical world. That's pretty heady stuff - nothing to be taken lightly for sure.

My favorite track is the song that ends the CD. I first heard "The 5th And The Hysteric" on a compilation of Necropolis bands and it managed to separate itself from all the other bands on the disc. "The 5th And The Hysteric" is a blazing track that balances keyboard work and guitars into a fairly comprehensive and satisfying whole.

Any fan of black metal would find something to appreciate in Charmand Grimloch's effort "The Red Jewel." Tartaros' music, not unlike most black metal, sounds dense and chaotic upon the first dozen or so listens. However, "The Red Jewel" has many complex layers which must be carefully assimilated with repeated listens and uninterrupted focus. That may sound like a lot of work for a CD, but some things are well worth the effort.

"The Red Jewel" was produced by Charmand Grimloch; all instruments were played and all vocals performed by Charmand Grimloch. This is one of the better one-man band efforts you'll ever hear.

For more information visit http://www.necropolisrec.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 18 Sep 2023 21:51:19 -0400.