16 Feb 2014
Legionary - Path of Tyranny [EP] (2013, Self-released)
Legionary is a band that has always been plagued by line-up changes, the only constant member being drummer Frank D'Erasmo, the creator of Legionary. The members have had ties to New Jersey thrashers Condition Critical as well as the death/thrash group Strychnia from the same area. First of all, I'm a little sad to see the departure of their previous vocalist, Tim Rocheny, from the lineup. After the release of Arcane Divisions, Legionary's debut album from 2012, Rocheny went on to become the vocalist of the Razorback-signed death metal band Mausoleum.
Legionary hail from the North Eastern parts of the US, but if there's anything northern about their sound it's the inspiration they've taken from Scandinavian melodic death metal. Their modus operandi is melody-based death metal with thrashy tendencies, fueled by D'Erasmo's ferocious drumming and the guitar leads of main riff-smith Rory S. Robinson, who is new to the band. The new vocalist, Kevin O'Laughlin from Strychnia, is a nice addition to the line-up and fills the shoes of Rocheny adequately. The familiar sound of thrashy tremolos fills the ears once again when Path of Tyranny is put to the test.
The recipe works pretty well overall, though what was previously only a refreshing dash of melody added to the mix is now full-blown melodic death metal, albeit executed in a thrashier way than most. Tracks like Disgrace of the Union has a Kataklysm-esque feel to it during the fastest part where the O'Laughlin roars over the sound of D'Erasmo's ridiculously fast blast beats, which speaks volumes of their skills as musicians whether or not you like Kataklysm. I feel compelled to make the comparison between their debut album and this EP; On Arcane Divisions the earlier incarnation of the band were busy showcasing every aspect of their sound and songwriting, boldly displaying everything they could muster in terms of brutality and speed during the almost 50 minutes the album spanned, but this newer embodiment of the band seems more inclined to the more melodic side of their music. It seems to rely more on a sound that would invite showmanship - something that is especially noticable in the riveting Media Complex and through their incredibly flashy guitar solos - rather than musicianship.
While the Path of Tyranny EP is more melodic than Arcane Divisions it is also more controlled, releasing its violent outburts in a more disciplined fasion. This in turn makes room for compositions that are principally more technical in their nature, but I can not help but notice how the presence of only one guitarist has trouble filling the void left by another guitarist. The sound on the album simply felt more layered and wholesome, and it would seem that while the songwriting itself hasn't changed much, the musical approach has. Path of Tyranny, in all its glory, misses a little punch and doesn't feel as ruthlessly uncompromising as the band's previous efforts. 6/10 guitars.
1. Freedom's Demise (Intro)
2. Disgrace of the Union
3. Media Complex
4. An Inconvenient Lie
The EP and the album can be listened to and purchased through Bandcamp
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