IMPORTANT: You can download the whole EP for free HERE!!
Title: Pandemonium EP
Artist: In Legend (Berlin/Mainz, GERMANY)
Genre: Hand-hammered Piano Craft | metal | piano
Release Date: 26th March 2010
Sometimes they occur… these strange moments that render you completely speechless while you are desperately trying to put the just witnessed listening experiences into appropriate words… and of course fail doing so. I’m struggling with this particular situation as we speak, after having listened to the band In Legend’s debut EP Pandemonium for what feels like the 100th time, and after trying to find an introduction that does this work justice for what feels like the 200th time. So, let us therefore try to simply look at things as they are: In fact, In Legend sound different than everything you have heard before - and, nevertheless, after the first listen one can already feel some sort of intimateness and well-being that one rarely gets to discover in music nowadays. Yes, I’m using big words from the very start… and yet they hit nail on the head. But maybe it would be better to first of all introduce the project in general before this turns into a completely obscure wave of enthusiasm that might cause all readers to rather shake their heads than to look any further.
In Legend is the piano metal (and yes, this denotation, albeit it might not fit 100 %, might possibly be the most appropriate one that I can think of at first) side project of Bastian Emig, also known as the drummer of the world’s first and famous a-cappella heavy metal band Van Canto. Thus, one could rightfully assume that the membership in this band might have already laid the foundation for an inclination towards extraordinary sounds because Van Canto have in fact made themselves a name as being a truly exotic phenomenon within the metal scene, particularly due to their unconventional approach to heavy metal, wherewith they have nevertheless been able to attain considerable success and fan following until now. I am almost sure that the same development will eventually happen to In Legend because this project also manages to challenge prevalent conventions in heavy metal music in a very original way.
For example, just like Van Canto, In Legend is also lacking the most important instrument of heavy metal music - the guitar. Only a bass (played by Daniel Wicke) and the drums (played by Dennis Otto) deliver the necessary rhythm and groove in order to worthily prop up the main instrument piano. Nevertheless, the piano oftentimes builds up an incredible heaviness and energy that can definitely compete with the usual metal bands in terms of intensity and dynamics. Bastian himself describes In Legend as sounding a bit like “Tori Amos on cocaine” and this depiction can somehow really be applied to the whole thing.
The first song Pandemonium already serves as a proper introduction to the sound of In Legend and presents the listener after a short spoken-word passage with a heavily hammering intro on the bass keys of the piano which is accompanied by dynamic double bass attacks of the drums. Never before had I heard a piano in such a heavy way - but one must admit that it perfectly matches the dusky mood of the song. What also immediately sticks out in this song is the versatile voice of Bastian Emig. While I can imagine that it might take some time for certain people to get used to it, as a matter of fact his voice already captivates the listener in this first song and does not let him go again. On this 4-track EP one can seriously discover everything from soft, clean vocal passages to powerful, partly even screamed parts or even spoken-word-like, rhythmic vocal work. And also the arrangements themselves are characterized by these changes in dynamics.
The EP contains everything from energetic piano hammering (not for nothing is the sound of In Legend also described as being hand-hammered piano craft) to fast, lively passages and also calm, atmospheric and even romantic moments (for example in the intro of Prestinate and generally in the song The Healer), and one already finds out about that in the first song. There is never a dull moment in the whole course of this work - on the contrary: The whole CD is so full of brilliant new ideas, diversity, and technical finesses that it almost exceeds the listener’s imagination. And if that was not enough, Bastian Emig also has a keen sense of wonderful melodies (which can be discovered in the terrific closing song Heya, for example) which immediately get stuck in the ear canals and make no move to leave in the near future. In particular one also needs to put a special emphasis on the “song in the song” with the title Remedy - an absolutely stunning piano instrumental that seamlessly follows up the third song The Healer and simply offers a wonderfully calm and melancholic break to the rest of the album. One can virtually think of it as the moment of relief before the (contrary to the rest of the album) rather optimistic and “lighter” piece Heya picks up the pace for one last time.
Conclusion: As mentioned above, this debut EP just blew me away. I had already been exposed and gotten used to a lot of different stuff in the heavy metal genre before but In Legend manage the impossible and enthuse me with only four songs like no other band did in a long while. Rarely has any debut offered as much inventiveness, passion, and fresh air as can be seen here, and with the high musical quality and the very high artistic value of this output one can only wonder what kind of great things In Legend are gonna provide us with in the future when the first full length album arrives (which is already said to come out in fall/winter 2010). “The perfect blend of hard, soft and uncompromising passion” - that is how the biography of the band puts it - and from my side there is hardly any better description for this more than ambitious project.
03. The Healer (Inclusive Remedy)
Bastian Emig "Vortex Generating Super Operator" - vocals, piano
Daniel Wicke "The Bass Cyclone" - bass
Dennis Otto "The Drumming Tornado" - drums
Extras: There is a hidden secret to be discovered in the EP which is very creative
Total: 9.8 / 10
Similar / Connected Bands:
Van Canto | Jester's Funeral | The Razorblades | Jovian Spin | Narakam | Apocalyptica | Tori Amos | David Garrett | My Own Private Alaska | Yann Tiersen | Serj Tankian | HIM | Dommin | Sabaton | Riverside | Dream Theater | Borknagar | Sonata Arctica | Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Ben Folds | Sentenced | For My Pain... | Keane | Augustana | Muse | Jamie Cullum | Dax Johnson | The Fray | Coldplay | Jack's Mannequin