November 19, 2021, 2 weeks ago

(Pride & Joy)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 7.0

review heavy metal legions of the night


New German outfit, featuring longtime vocal pinch-hitter Henning Basse (Sons Of Seasons, ex-Metalium), claiming to be "based upon classical Savatage influenced rock and metal, Legions Of The Night play diverse and dark heavy metal." In case anyone missed the moniker/influence, the disc ends with their rendition of "Sirens" off the Floridians' debut. That said, the use of dynamics, especially piano/keyboards, and multiple voices DOES recall the 'Tage, albeit (regardless of cover tune option) the post-Hall Of The Mountain King variety. Witness the piano ballad "Someday Somewhere". Invoking such a hallowed band is a dangerous proposition.

However, as enticing as it sounds, have the same issue with Legions (why co-op a moniker lifted from an era you don't even attempt to replicate?) as I do/did with much of the Zak Stevens material (certainly in comparison to the early Jon Oliva repertoire): a predominance/reliance on pedestrian, singer/songwriter material, at the expense of the metallic. So beware. "Train To Nowhere" (what an accurate title) opens, with a rare rush of (thorazine? No.) adrenaline. Follow-up, "Lie" adopts a more bellicose posture, but lumbers in place. The Savs' vibe is all over "Walls of Sorrow", which begins with some frenetic six-strings, but settles for mid-tempo. At 7:20, it's the longest construct and the musical underpinning of "pain & horror, in these walls of sorrow" chorus recalls a similar position in ‘80s Alice Cooper ("Poison"). Listen for yourself. "Find The Truth" is slightly faster than a march, while "We All Walk Alone" ups the pace (slightly, and not throughout) and intermittently returns to the heaviness of "Lie". Basse opts for a strained, vocal harshness in "Shoot And Save". The title cut is another piano ballad, which almost gets the aggressive/serene Savatage formula correct: too little of the former, too much of the later, but still one of the album highlights.

Of the aforementioned, famous disc closer, Basse toughens (lowers) his normal register, as the band chooses a traditional run-through, complete with Olivia's unique vocal accents.

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HYPOCRISY – “Children Of The Gray” (Nuclear Blast)

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