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Birth of a legend - 81%

Andromeda_Unchained, January 15th, 2014

I’m sure many of you seek out upcoming acts with similar levels of fervor to myself, and of course the other contributors here. There’s often naught more thrilling than uncovering a new band or a hidden gem, especially when you stumble upon something you deem special. We Are Legend is one of the special ones, I think, and an act that I very nearly avoided due to their choice of band name.

Going in expecting some sort of modern core codswallop, I was immediately enthralled with We Are Legend’s daring blend of German power metal (a là Brainstorm) spliced with classical pianos springing to mind many of the Sava-projects (Circle II Circle, TSO, and the ‘Tage themselves), as well some Reckoning Night style Sonata Arctica bluster. At their heart, We Are Legend are all about the juggernaut German metal riffs, provided by ex-Abraxas ax-man Siggi Maier and Coronatus’ Dirk Baur. Across their debut, these guys spew forth wrecking balls of distorted delight which completely nail the mark, ensuring the head-bang, the fist pump, and all that other good stuff that metal does to us.

Unorthodox songwriting decisions (at least for German power metal) certainly spice up the band’s sound, and a lot of this can be pinned to frontman/pianist Selin Schönbeck, who frankly is an incredible talent. His vocals certainly flow out with plenty of shade, and whilst there’s a definite air of Brainstorm’s Andy Franck to be heard – particularly in the power department – I’d say overall he’s very much his own singer. Check out that almost John Arch delivery in the “Enemy Within” pre-chorus and contrast it with the gruffer approach to the heavier moments in “March Of The Living” – man, this guy rules. Getting to what I was saying about the more odd choices in song-craft: I think Selin’s vocal lines initially come off unexpected, at times off-the-cuff and in others pre-mediated. This makes for some interesting transitions, which when coupled with the odd lyrics, adds extra dimension to the sound – certainly something you won’t find in your run-of-the-mill crunchy power metal band.

Of course the backing music houses plenty in the way of twists and turns, offering a progressive approach to changing up musical sections. The aforementioned “Enemy Within” plays for the most part like a scorching Brainstorm number, yet in the middle they bust out into a Westminster Chime. Certainly something odd, yet brilliant; further instances of maniacal genius can be found in the bombastic “God Is Dreaming” or even the peculiar opening cut “Hungry Mirrors”. It’s this fresh approach to a well established sound that has kept Rise Of The Legend in my playlists since I first heard it.

Whilst their overall sound could be a deciding factor for some, on the whole I feel We Are Legend proves itself to be a bright spark amidst the genres hopefuls, and one I hope bursts into a full-fledged supernova. With an impressively accomplished debut, I’d love to see these Germans appear on the radar of power metal buffs the world over, and really, I can’t stress the promise I see in these guys. Without a doubt an exciting band and one already carving out a sound they can proudly call their own. Recommended listening!

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