When Chicago punks Alkaline Trio hit the music scene in 1998, frontman Matt Skiba was belting out tunes about bloody heartbreaks and, uh, catching on fire. Now, seven years and six albums later, he's crooning about Charles Manson and murder conspiracies.
For Crimson, what Skiba considers their "most ambitious" record to date, Alkaline Trio took a detour from their usual introspective, heart-wrenching relationship tales and shifted the focus to deeper subject matter — like the true-to-life tales of Manson family member Sadie Mae Glitz ("Sadie") and the court case of the West Memphis Three ("Prevent This Tragedy").
And now, in a move that makes Crimson only more ambitious, on December 6 the group is re-releasing a two-disc deluxe version that includes the original album (which dropped in May) and a bonus CD of 10 never-before-heard demos and four acoustic versions of Crimson cuts. It will also come with the clips of the singles "Time to Waste" and "Mercy Me."
The reissue gives the band yet another chance to tell more people about the plight of the West Memphis Three (see "Rollins Raises Black Flag To Salute West Memphis Three"). Skiba became enthralled with the case after watching an HBO documentary on the situation, in which three teenagers were convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, based in part on their alleged involvement in satanic cults and their affinity for heavy metal.
"The more I looked at the case, the more I realized that there was something terribly wrong and they probably had imprisoned the wrong people," said Skiba, a longtime member of the Church of Satan (see "Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba: 'Satanism's Fun' "). "It's pretty crazy in this day and age that witch hunts are still happening, and with us being partial to black and being Metallica fans, you know, it could have [happened to] any of us if we were there at the wrong place, the wrong time."
Crimson deluxe-edition bonus disc track listing, according to their record label:
- "Time to Waste" (Demo)
- "The Poison" (Demo)
- "Burn" (Demo)
- "Mercy Me" (Acoustic)
- "Dethbed" (Demo)
- "Settle for Satin" (Demo)
- "Sadie" (Acoustic)
- "Fall Victim" (Demo)
- "I Was a Prayer" (Acoustic)
- "Prevent This Tragedy" (Demo)
- "Back to Hell" (Demo)
- "Your Neck" (Demo)
- "Smoke" (Demo)
- "Time to Waste" (Acoustic)