Saturday, 11 April 2015

Legionnaire – The Enigma of Time (2015) / 75%

Raw true traditional metal recorded in a sauna.

This young quarter from Finland is quite charming, they play an enduring form of heavy metal that's always fun to hear. Pure heavy metal is seeing a resurgence in this country with bands such as Lord First and Mausoleum Gate. Legionnaire follows in their footsteps but they don't have all the elements to step into greatness just yet.

The Enigma of Time is their second demo and it's following last year's self titled effort. While still recorded in their rehearsal room, this one has a better production but we're still a long way from a truly professional endeavor from these guys. That's a good thing since every band should take the time to work on their craft and songwriting. We see bands burning themselves with their first full length while a bunch of demos could have solidified the identity of their sound.

I can safely see a solidification with their sophomore demo, the sound is tighter and the tempo is faster, I think this was sort of an issue with the debut since the songs were asking for it but it wasn't a skill that they had acquired yet. The vocals were pretty terrible but in a appealing and likable sort of way, I think what improved here is the sense of delivery and the superior vocal melodies they used. There's many heavy metal bands that aren't centered around the vocals and they should be one of them, they even included a pretty cool instrumental track (named after a star system) on this demo.

The vocals are mostly buried underneath the mix but I really dig the approach here, it's simply fun, timeless traditional metal did with a lot of passion and care. They're not powerful but they do the job, many NWOBHM bands didn't have great vocalists (see Angel Witch!) and they had to rely on their other skills to get their point across.

The sound is also more epic and it's getting classier, they're still an apprentice to the masters and there's absolutely nothing wrong with this, quite the opposite in fact. The dual guitars are firmly in place and that's a positive aspect. Disciples of the Murray/Smith or the Mike Scalzi schools of leads and there's no better education than those. To put it bluntly, Legionnaire's leads are fucking awesome and the best thing about the band, it drives their music and they're a more than valuable counterpart to their competent but middle of the road riffs.

Thematically, it's simple fantasy stuff and we've all read these sort of lyrics before but who the hell cares? I mean, I watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy each fucking year and I never got bored by the swords and sorcery genre
 and if you are, you probably lie to yourself by telling everyone that you're a grown up now and that you pay taxes.

These guys truly dig Liege Lord, Maiden and Brocas helm and so should you. There's always something in the beer in Finland that gives the band a quirky identity and it's the case here too, it's hard to describe though. I guess I'll need to travel there and get drunk in a sauna with the dudes to truly understand their ways.

Join the legion, it will be fun and you'll be able to see these guys improve an already very enjoyable heavy metal sound. If raw heavy metal is your thing, then check these fellows, order a tape, smash a beer can and punch a djent fan in the arse.

Special mention to the badass logo and the cool lo-fi but evocative cover art illustrating the first track “The Guardian”. Also pretty cool that they're the first metal band to use the Legionnaire moniker.

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