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LEGENDRY The Wizard And The Tower Keep

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Monday, November 25, 2019 @ 7:08 AM

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The Wizard And The Tower Keep

2019 High Roller Records

Pittsburgh, PA’s LEGENDRY has released their third album of classic epic metal, The Wizard and the Tower Keep. The band consists of Vidarr (guitar, vocals, mellotron, mandolin, swords), Evil St. Clair (bass, backing vocals, battle axes) and Kicker (drums, percussion, necromancy). LEGENDRY are largely influenced by epic masters like MANILLA ROAD, CIRITH UNGOL, WARLORD, and classic rock bands like URIAH HEEP, KING CRIMSON, YES, WISHBONE ASH, JETHRO TULL and Caress Of Steel-era RUSH. The band describes their sound as having “a lot of old-school elements from the ‘70s and ‘80s”, but don’t think of themselves as a throwback band. They strive to create something that is timeless, and “familiar, yet surprising.” Lyrically, the band is inspired by author Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan The Barbarian and the father of the “sword and sorcery” genre.

The Wizard and The Tower Keep is a concept album based on a novelette written by Vidarr. The story follows the adventures of an unnamed warrior in a strange world, whose exploits began on the title track from the band’s debut album Mists Of Time (2016), and continued on several tracks on the band’s sophomore release Dungeon Crawler (2017). The unnamed warrior also appears on the cover of The Wizard and The Tower Keep.

The album opens with the sound of wind and the crackle of a fire, which segues the folk-flavored and mandolin-filled “The Bard’s Tale”. This song sets up the story, which invites you to gather around the fire and “listen to an old bard’s tale”. Things kick into high gear with the double bass and riff-filled, “Vindicator”, a nice speedy epic power metal track that finds the warrior starting out on his adventure, and updates the listener on what happened so far in this story, (continuing from the previous album, Dungeon Crawler). You can view a video for the song on KNAC.COM HERE. This continues in the title track, “The Wizard and The Tower Keep”, which describes more about the warrior’s mission from the first person point of view. This track is kind of dreamy, with a nice middle section and long noodling solo section.

The next songs are more epic in length. “The Lost Road” is the band’s nod to MANILLA ROAD, and describes the characters traveling on their journey. This is a harder rocking track, and its demo-like quality adds some do-it-yourself flavor. “Sorcery’s Bane” is one of the best songs on the album, in my opinion. This is a feast for the ears, featuring a rollicking tempo with tons of riffs and some orchestration. Dee C. plays violin here as well, adding a folk element. Hammond organ was played by Vidarr’s wife, Drea. “Behind The Summoner’s Seal” is an instant classic and the most aggressive track on the album, featuring precision speed metal drumming from Kicker, a throbbing bassline from Evil and some spacey riffs from Vidarr. The lyrics are pure poetry of classic epic heavy metal.

The album ends with “Earthwarrior” its longest track (at nearly 11 minutes). It is told in three parts, The Confrontation, The Realization and The Bard’s Tale (reprise). If I were to play one song from this album for someone, it would be this one. It has it all, the epic moments, the orchestration, the heavy parts, and the folk/acoustic moments. Referencing back to The Bard’s Tale at the end, (with the crackle of fire and wind) also puts a nice bookend on the story.

The main takeaway for me from The Wizard and The Tower Keep is that epic, classic heavy metal is alive and well. The old school methods of recording the album only add to its appeal. If you’re craving some old school metal with nods to the old masters and the NWOBHM, give this album a listen.

4.2 Out Of 5.0

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