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Legendry – Mists of Time (Reissue) Award winner

Mists of Time (Reissue)
by Rachel Montgomery at 12 May 2021, 6:50 AM

LEGENDRY is a more recent band, coming out as part of the New wave of Traditional metal in the 2010s. This re-release, unlike most of the ones that come across my desk, is from 2016 rather than 1986. However, the sound of the nascent years of power metal is so spot on, I thought this album was from 1978. You can’t miss the nods to Robert E. Howard’s work, and the construction of under-produced epics are abundantly clear.

The opening reminds me of the film Legend where the Lord of Darkness, played by Tim Curry, opens the director’s cut with a monologue about how he wants to plunge the world in eternal night. The frosty sound effects and the deep, low voice in “Cimmeria” has the same effect as he introduces the listener to worlds past. Rather than just dive into it, the first full track “For Metal We Ride” begins with a minute-long soft intro showcasing good musical chops. The song features many musical movements and changes going from intense to soft and melodic. It then picks up in intensity around the two-minute mark with a guitar melody, where the notes are higher and drawn out in that wa-wa style until they give way to a galloping riff and echoing vocals. They’re a little far back for my taste, but strangely, they work with the ethereal tone the rest of the album set up.

Phoenix Rising” was a standout from the get-go, featuring thrash melodies seemingly ahead of the album’s sound’s time and juxtaposing that with a slower, harmonic, uplifting solo in the middle. The way the song constructs the concept of a rising phoenix is a testament to good composition. The movement at the end featuring machine gun riffs was the most striking, as it came from a lulling melodic solo and revived the vocal melody in a different way, symbolizing the resurrection of a phoenix.

Another standout was “Attack of the Necromancer” The tribal, paleolithic style of the drum opening got my attention right away, and established the sword-and-sorcery song, akin to Conan the Barbarian or Ralph Bakshi’s Fire and Ice (speaking of, the cover art and the opening narrative allude to both of these works, as does “Winds of Hyboria”).  Like the previous song, I liked the changes in melody, even the seeming dialogue between a lower, guttural riff and a squealing guitar. And the whooshing sound at the end like a cold winter’s chill flying out the door? Excellent touch!

It figures their shortest full song is a cover. Takin on MANILLA ROAD’s “Lost in Necropolis”, the song fits thematically with the album’s overall sword and sorcery. However, it doesn’t really do anything for the original save a small bump here and there. Given their previous tracks, I was expecting them to take this song, lengthen it with some original guitar work, like a solo, an outro, or even add an extra verse. But they kept it close to Manilla Road’s version, keeping their vocals in the back too. It’s a nice slice of nostalgia in the middle of the album from a 2021 perspective, but I’m not sure if it works with the longer, more melodically complex tracks (in retrospect, it was probably their planned single). That said, I love the echo they add in the chorus, giving the song a haunted, undead feel. Plus, despite the criticisms, it’s still as fun to rock out to as Manilla Road’s version.

The bookend at the end of the album, a reprisal of “Cimmeria”, has a more ominous tone than the opening, sprinkling the howling winds with ominous notes like footfalls. The incantation read is like a banishing spell, especially as a narrator closes, telling the spirits to return from where they came. It creates a feeling like we opened a bottle to release this beautiful, horrible necrotic landscape, but could put it back in the bottle again, ready to listen another day.

If you like early power metal, or pre power and progressive metal in the vein of DIO, LED ZEPPELIN, RITCIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW, URIAH HEAP, JETHRO TULL and DEEP PURPLE, definitely check this band out, especially if you prefer longer, more complex songs to shorter bops and 3:05 singles. If you’re a recording snob, namely, you’re a firm believer that vocals should be more in the front, the echoing vocals behind the guitars might annoy you. Similarly, if you prefer shorter tracks, this one’s a skip for you. Finally, some of the tracks are just OK, namely the earlier demos they included like “Ancestors’ Wrath”. That said, it’s a solid album worth checking out if old and proto-power metal is your style.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Cimmeria
2. For Metal We Ride
3. Ancestors' Wrath
4. Phoenix on the Blade
5. Attack of the Necromancer
6. Mists of Time
7. Necropolis
8. Winds of Hyboria
9. Cimmeria (Reprise)
Vidarr - Guitars, Vocals, Bass & Swords
Kicker - Drums, Percussion, Necromancy
Record Label: High Roller Records


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