In Legend – Ballads ‘N’ Bullets – Review

Okay, so we’ve covered a lot of genres and we’re open to anything that rolls along, but you can imagine our surprise when we got a hold of a new debut record self-dubbed as ‘piano metal’ – a slightly ridiculous new term made to emphasize that piano takes the place of guitar in this album.

                         

In Legend is the name, and it’s the unlikely adaption of Bastion Emig of German band Van Canto, who also made an impression as a drummer when he spent two-years with Chinese thrashers Narakam (formerly known as Hades) and ten-years with power metallers Jester’s Funeral.

Despite his German roots, Emig was raised in Burkina Faso for much of his childhood and began experimenting with percussion from an early age before returning to his homeland and independently learning the piano. The inspiration for what would become this quirky metal project began right there. If for some strange reason you’ve been on the scout for some music with metal structures but with distorted guitar absent, yet Rodrigo y Gabriella’s acoustic flamenco metal was a little too wacky for you and Markus Grosskopf’s Bassinvaders slightly silly, then this might be the one!

Replacing a guitar for a piano will understandably be the very metal blasphemy that will result in people shunning Ballads N’ Bullets without giving it a fair chance. But they should, not just out of curiosity, but for its sheer ambition.

Not all metal music sets out with a penchant for raw brutality and if this notion can be accepted, then there’s potential to enjoy this one. This does mean that In Legend will likely attract a gothic audience, making this your biggest guilty pleasure of the year. Especially when Vortex – with a sampled backing of crowd noises – embarrassingly attempts to rally the pit in it’s full swinging piano mayhem. We can only hope this was an ironic call to arms from the three-piece.

Nevertheless, with worst part past, BNB goes on to carve its moments – particularly the catchy-as-hell Heya which crowns their peak with emphatic layers of vocal harmonising that demonstrate just how good of a decision it was to have Charlie Bauerfeind co-produce. His work mastering esteemed power metal acts with a ‘more is more’ mentality almost makes him the natural choice in a project like In Legend.

Piano-driven, BNB doesn’t try too hard in replacing the aggressiveness of guitar, but rather prefers to tap into the more subtle melodic sound of power metal, which works in their favour most in single Pandemonium. Universe closes the debut with the kind of love ballad that every flower metaller secretly listens to but never admits. A relatively successful start, you can bet this one to be a grower and hope for more from this bizarre trio.

7/10

rushonrock.com

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