Legendry – Initiation Rituals / Mists of Time (Reviews)

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Title: Initiation Rituals

Artist: Legendry

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Genre: Traditional Metal

Year: 2016

Country: USA

Label: Haftvad Records

Links: https://legendry.bandcamp.com/album/initiation-rituals

Legendry is a traditional heavy metal band inspired by classic American metal bands such as Omen, Manilla Road, and Cirith Ungol. This short demo released by Haftvad Records features live tracks recorded during studio rehearsals. Despite being a simple live demo, Initiation Rituals establishes Legendry as a unique force in modern heavy metal.

The opening track Phoenix on the Blade features very fast riffs and structures that instantly bring to mind Omen’s mandatory Battle Cry album. The lyrics (which are based on the first Conan the Cimmerian story written by Robert E. Howard) set the stage for Legendry’s themes; sword and sorcery, warriors, epic battles and barbarism. The raging speed is reduced during the guitar solo which has a very emotional and melancholic feeling, which brings to mind the guitar work of Mark The Shark Shelton. While the primary focus of Legendry is epic heavy metal, this is far from just another generic metal band. The track Mists of Time show a more improvisational feeling, with long guitar solo passages before returning to the traditional heavy metal bulldozer established on earlier tracks. This moves into territory not often explored by bands of this nature, and creates an adventurous atmosphere perfectly fitting for the sword and sorcery themes of the band.

The tape version also features a bonus track (Sky Burial) which is not featured on the digital copy or the full length album. While Initiation Rituals is a simple rehearsal demo, the material featured as well as the outstanding musicianship of the band already shows that Legendry is a force to be reckoned with in the realms of epic traditional metal.

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Title: Mists of Time

Artist: Legendry

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Genre: Traditional Metal

Year: 2016

Country: USA

Label: Non Nobis Productions

Links: https://legendry.bandcamp.com/album/mists-of-time

Legendry’s full length album Mists of Time is one of the most underrated metal albums I’ve encountered in some time. While their demo Initiation Rituals displayed the bands technical musicianship and sword and sorcery atmosphere, everything is turned up several notches on the full length album. The album begins with a narration of Robert E. Howard’s poem “Cimmeria”, before the second track For Metal, We Ride begins. The song starts with a mesmerizing clean/acoustic guitar passage, which sets a strong mood for a solemn ride into battle. When the electric guitars kick in the lead guitar continues the same mood set up by the acoustics, followed by riffs that command you to headbang. Guitarist/vocalist Vidarr’s unique vocals are also worth mentioning here. The vocals remind me of a nasally mix of Mark The Shark Shelton and Tim Baker from Cirith Ungol, with lyrics that are easy to understand. This approach to heavy metal vocals is rougher and tougher than the typical clean vocals many heavy metal bands take, feeling as heavy as a broadsword compared to the razor thin falsettos other bands use. The chorus is also one of the most memorable moments on the entire album. This 9 minute heavy metal monster is the perfect opener to the album.

Songs from the Initiation Ritual demo are also found here, except we get to hear them the way the band intended. Slight differences can be heard, such as the addition of an electric organ to Phoenix on the Blade, again with the guitar solos soaring over the mix with feeling and power. True heavy metal cannot exist without great guitar solos, and Legendry can hold their own with the best of them. The solos do not focus on speed and shredding, but on delivering memorable and epic melodies that hearken back to the glory days of Ritchie Blackmore. Compared to other contemporary heavy metal acts such as Eternal Champion or Savage Master, Legendry has the best guitar solos in my eyes.

The diversity of the album continues with the tribal percussion opening of Attack of the Necromancer, which creates images of the barren land of Stygia in the mind of the listener who is well read into the world of Robert E. Howard. Necropolis is of course a Manilla Road cover, which really displays how similar Vidarr’s vocals are to Mark The Shark Shelton. The cover is well executed and I’m sure would make Mark and the band proud. The album closer, Winds of Hyboria, is a 12 minute epic which mirrors the style of the poem Cimmeria found in the album intro. This track combines acoustic and electric guitars, giving some sections a heavy Falkenbach feeling, with soaring folkish guitar solos. The band could not have closed with a stronger song, the spoken word outro mirroring the album intro.

Legendry stands next to contemporary American metal bands such as Visigoth and Eternal Champion as keepers of the ancient ways. While the band is firmly rooted in classic bands from the old days, they are far from being generic and are not lacking in enthusiasm, talent and creativity. The album artwork (which was painted by Vidarr himself) is a testament to the ancient metal power of the album. For those who like their metal with chainmail and battle axes, this album cannot be missed.

“I remember the forests, glacier haunted earth
I remember the mountains, and the tales of great mirth
I can see the ravens circling overhead
I can feel the spirits of the honored dead
My ancestor’s calling, from Valhalla’s hall
Their voices do linger, after nightfall
Elemental and strong, the unbowed clans
Oh, the Riddle of Steel, the strength of their hands”