Legend - The Dark Place (CD Review)

01.The Dark Place
03.Too Late The Hero
04.Halls Of The Dead
05.The Watcher
08.Burn With Your Demons
10.Taste Of Life
11.Play Your Game

Mike Lezala (Vocals)
Pete Haworth (Guitar)
Jack Pallot (Drums)
Neil Haworth (Guitar)
Gary Aubert (Bass)

Formed in 1980 in Jersey, the NWOBHM band went on to release 2 albums and an ep, always recieved great reviews, even managed to support Thin Lizzy, but never made it to the mainland uk, had they done so this band would have been huge, they split in 1983.

But the legacy of the NWOBHM is one that always attracts intrest from music fans, this lead the band to release a best of cd called 'Retroshock' in 1998.
In 2002 a better compilation CD was issued called 'Anthology' which collected all the bands precious releases and a demo tape.
In 2003 the Haworth brothers used the bands name and released 'Still Screaming'.

Then it all went quiet until last year when a limited edition vinyl of the bands debiut album was released and the band reformed in February.
Such was their enthusiasm that they decided to make this more than just a one-off and began writing and planning more gig's including finally heading to England.

On April 13th they released the album 'The Dark Place' (recorded at 70's legend Gilbert O'Sullivans Studio) to co-inside with a storming live appearence at the Keep It True festival in Germany where they played along side AngelWitch, Quartz, Holocaust and a host of other bands.

Some crunching powerchords open 'The Dark Place' this quickly gives way to a melodic vocal with suitable backing, the song soon kicks back in with some serious heavy riffing.

'Red' starts with some acoustic guitar and moves along at a nice pace, get the feeling that this one is gonna build up to something and yes at 2 minutes it blasts my speakers!
Amazing that the music can be so heavy (yet refined) and the vocals can stay so melodic yet work so well without that need to scream.
The song then breaks down into some "prog" with a childs voice speaking, gives it a creepy feel, then end on some more epic guitarwork.

I spoke to bassist Gary and he told me that this song 'Too Late The Hero' was quite possibley the very first song the band ever wrote some 33 years ago, this one never made it to their first album due to time constraints.
Funnily enough it has that old school feel, crazy because songs like this back then would have put the firmly in the Diamond Head/Limelight vein and would have been a classic.

'Halls Of The Dead' is a dark and atmospheric song, almost in early doom genre, very melodic with a simple but haunting riff running throughout, and some nice vocals again.

Track 5 is 'The Watcher' has all the elements of a neo-prog rocker, the quality of the musicianship and the way in which the song is put together makes for great listening, allowing what seems to be complex timing changes to blend with agression and melody.

'Monster' has another creepy start, when the vocals start with "Do you want to come out and play?" the answer is a definate no thanks! man this one is dark, guessing the monster of the song is not of horror movies but of reality, and that makes this nasty and uncomfortable.
Heavy as hell to boot! vocals remind me of Peter Gabriel circa 1980 when he was doing songs like 'The Intruder', wonderful guitar solo thrown in, one to crank the volume to 100 (well i did!).

'Paragon' carrys on the same vibe with that gritty dark and heavy sound, whilst the next song 'Burn With Your Demons' after its quiet intro turns into an anthemic fist in the air rocker, really powered along by the guitar and pounding basswork.

'Q&A' is a new version of the song that had been on their original demo, mainly according to Gary "because of the poor production" on the demo.
All i have to say on this track is that if Marillion were more metal in 1982 then this is what they would sound like.

All hail the cd and its ability to allow more music on it because the next song 'Taste Of Life' now gets the full treatment that they were unable to achieve when they first recorded this way back on their debut album.
The extended almost "ethereal" intro works well leading into a riff fest!

Finally 'Play Your Game' shows the mature metallers thumping out another quality mid paced rocker, full of the melody and riffery that has come to define this band.

You cant help but think when listening to this, that here is a band who have produced a world class album despite a thirty year break, wonder dear listener and imagine how big would this band have been had theykept going, would they be on album number 15 and planning their 25th world tour? i think they would!

An instant classic from a band who understand their craft and how to perfect the art of Heavy Metal without resorting to rehash old sounds and throw in a bit of thrash to make it up.

Rating 10/10

For fans of : Marillion, Opeth, Gaskin, Rush, Anathema, From Great Height, Amulet



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