What an interesting relationship I have with this one, the first time I listened to it I was bored out of my head, I had heard that this album was supposed to be one of a kind, unique and above all a masterpiece. Although I agreed with the unique aspect I couldn’t see where the praise was coming from so I ignored this album for a bit. But compulsions are a strange thing dear reader and I was drawn to this album again for reasons that were and still are unclear to me but boy am I glad I gave it another chance. This time I focused much more on the music than before, I let myself become immersed by it, then it hit me. Wow, how the hell was I missing out on this? This album is incredible and I can’t believe I fooled myself into thinking Sad Legend
were another disposable Black Metal
The music on Sad Legend
is VERY melodic but in a good way, I mean they haven’t gone over board and made it cheesy and metalcore like. The melodies themselves are very unique and have a nice oriental flavour to them which helps to keep it interesting. The songs themselves are very guitar oriented although keyboards are used sparingly, personally I’d have liked to have seen more of them but it’s no big hindrance. I like how when the keyboards are used they’re used for atmospheric effect only, by that I mean they haven’t done what Dimmu Borgir
have done and made it the focal point of the music. They create a pleasant back drop to the melodious guitars and work in perfectly with the rest of the music.
For a Black Metal
album the guitars are surprisingly light and clear, the distortion isn’t crushingly abrasive (Verwustung) and neither is it deliberately under produced (Xasthur
), the guitars have just enough distortion to satisfy my Black Metal
appetite but it is still very clean when compared to much of the genre. Personally this doesn’t bother me because I’m all up for cleaner sounding Black Metal
albums when it’s done right, and thankfully this is. However the lack of major distortion does seem to add to the albums only downfall which I will discuss later.
Vocal wise, the singer from Sad Legend
sounds like a fusion of John Haugm and A. Morbid
. The vocals are very relaxed and are more mournful and sad rather than vile and hateful. It really adds to the overall atmosphere of the album. I’d have liked to have seen a change in pitch though as the vocalist does tend to use the same monotonous rasping technique for the entire album which can become a little frustrating but it doesn’t detract from the overall listening value too much.
The clean vocals are very odd in my opinion, it sounds like a female but when I looked at the personnel for this release there’s only the one vocalist and it’s a guy, so either the guy has a ridiculously feminine voice (it can happen) or they used a female singer and forgot to include her in the line-up or they deliberately left her out, I don’t know. But what I do know is that the clean vocals annoy me quite a bit, they’re ridiculously high pitched and sound almost comical in their delivery. It really detracts from the atmosphere as it adds an unwanted layer of cheese over a sad and mournful Black Metal
release. Although I’m not opposed to clean vocals in Black Metal
, in fact sometimes I find them to be necessary such is the case with Avathar
. Unfortunately however Sad Legend
simply doesn’t know how to use them, at all.
Now onto this albums biggest downfall, it’s lack of aggression. Black Metal
is a genre that is usually evil, dark and aggressive, although Melodic Black Metal
never has been particularly evil and dark; it’s still aggressive, even Catamenia
had their aggressive moments. But it’s because Sad Legend
LACKS aggression that it causes a bit of a hindrance to me, in all fairness I haven’t heard a Black Metal
album as tame as this since Bergtatt – Et eeventyr i 5 capitler. What’s even more curious to me is that the music doesn’t sound like it was actually designed to be played like this. The music would fit much better if it was a lot faster and more aggressive, I understand that the aim of this album was to create a mournful atmosphere but you can do that without removing aggression (Nyktalgia
’s first album is a good example of this). Unfortunately Sad Legend HAS
all the right ingredients to be an absolute work of art; the lack of aggression however hinders this. For what it is it is a very good Melodic Black Metal
album, it definitely has its stand out moments and it certainly qualifies as an interesting listen but the replay value isn’t nearly as high as Far
Away From The Sun, Welcome My Last Chapter
of the Light’s Bane
. Whilst I enjoy this album very much, it’s a little too safe for my liking, it sounds like it was designed to cater exclusively to people who aren’t exactly into this kind of music. It has the main ingredients of Black Metal
but lacks the main atmosphere that makes this kind of music so special. Overall Sad Legend
is a melodic masterpiece wrapped in cotton wool; suitable for all ages.