Pittsburgh’s Legendry have already made a name for themselves in the epic metal underground, a term used a lot I know, but if you are already immersed into the works of Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol, then chances are you have this band on your radar. This is their third full length, another concept, all of which are based on multi-instrumentalist Vidarr (guitars, Vocals, Mellotron, and Mandolin). The concept is all based on a novelette of the same name (Millhaven Press).
The songs themselves were written in the order as they appear on the album, thus keeping the story alive and the natural progression entertaining. In doing so, the mystique generated as depicted in the PR material, is certainly kept at the forefront. ‘The Bard’s Tale’ is light and slow to start with, building picture. The follow up ‘Vindicator’ is much more up tempo in terms of being akin to say ‘Atom Smasher’. The energy works out well. However, I get two trains of thought. The speedier tracks certainly capture a momentous form of energy, whilst the slower, epic and reasonably lengthy tunes capture imagination. This is what I term thinking person’s music. You have to listen to the story and the album in its entirety to get the whole picture. The guitars are not so heavy, the distortion is minimal, but then again this is fitting. If you take bands like Wytch Hazel and similar, the tone is very important to the feel of the music. The additional (non-standard shall we say) instruments added, invoke visionary techniques designed to augment the songs, rather than play along in unison. The title track ‘The Wizard and the Tower Keep’ is very easy to get singing along with. More rabid tunes such as ‘Sorcery’s Bane’ generate power. The massive game changing track is the closer ‘Earthwarrior’. As you would expect, it’s filled with different time signatures and styles, at nearly eleven minutes, its worthy of the epic badge.
Overall, this is a great listen, it’s an album that you have to live with, there’s no radio hits, and you need to capture the entire entity of the album. I would recommend their earlier material, as those two other releases form part of the story that continues in the concept of this third release. Legendry have captured strong elements of emotion without following the distortion heavy metal approach as its backbone. The subtlety thus, ensures that the listener gets a warm and quality album to rejoice with. For me, and my personal preference alone, I would be interested to see this music live. Generally I am not a fan of such events as these sort of albums are intense listening experiences in isolation. However, as a band and as a release, Legendry are certainly very artistic and know their craft, their song structures are well crafted and the result is a quality release far beyond their relative short years in the business. A new suitor has entered the battlefield…
(8/10 Paul Maddison)