This is a real oddball release, and perhaps that is its greatest strength. With their 1982-era Dungeons And Dragons style artwork, Pennsylvania’s LEGENDRY looks like they might be another knock-off of NWOBHM and epic power metal. And indeed, you can find much of that style here. But there’s a lot more going on sonically here than can be described in one easy sentence.
There’s a lot of ’70s love and worship in LEGENDRY. They have the kind of quirkiness that could be found in early SABBATH, RAINBOW, ’70s RUSH, even JETHRO TULL and KANSAS! They don’t restrict themselves to basic instruments, either…you can hear mandolin, mellotron, analog synth, violin and more. It’s like a clash between MANILLA ROAD/OMEN power metal and heavy ’70s prog. And when it works, it’s really entertaining!
Opening folky mandolin workout ‘The Bard’s Tale’ is wholly acoustic in the vein of rural TULL By itself, it didn’t do an awful lot for me, but as part of the album as a whole, it works. ‘Vindicator’ hits us with the heavy stuff and has a good deal of NWOBHM flavor. Singer Vidarr’s vocals are pleasantly clean, and there’s no trace of growling on this record. One thing that hits you about LEGENDRY is how the production really does have that 1977-1980 feel to it. Guitar solos are not neo-classical shredding but instead seem to lean on the wah-wah and phased effects a lot, something else that separates this band from the pack.
The title track, ‘Sorcerer’s Bane’ and epic ‘Earthwarrior’ are where LEGENDRY show their more grandiose side. RUSH in the era of Caress Of Steel is a pretty good description of where they are at here, creating some very majestic and uplifting sequences. ‘The Lost Road’ and ‘Behind The Summoner’s Seal’ are more in the vein of OMEN, MANILLA ROAD and even very early FATES WARNING…snappier and heavier, but still with odd quirks. Mellotron and violin show up to add proggy atmosphere.
As if you didn’t know by now, these guys are deep, DEEP into high fantasy and the world of swords, dragons and wizardry. With all the prog/’70s influence, they come across as more refreshing than the usual Italian HAMMERFALL ripoff or pirate metal band. Not perfect by any means, but a very interesting listen and that counts for a lot these days.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality
The Wizard And The Tower Keep
High Roller Records
4.5 / 6