After reviewing the previous release by this “power metal” band from the US, it felt only right that I should also review this one. Already established that, with the right promotion and manager behind them, these guys could and should have been one of the big bands of the 1980’s, possessing the right work ethic, dedication and talent to make it as big as the likes of Metal Church, Agent Steel and Exciter.
Dedication and talent are two words not lost on these guys. Formed by natural musician and multi-instrumentalist Doug Calloway in 1985, Doug was an original producer of his own material at the age of just 16 years old. He ran an ad looking for a high range metal vocalist to record and perform his music, and when Loy Mitchum, from South Carolina, answered the ad at 15 years of age, he was just the type of singer Doug had envisaged performing his songs.
Doug worked tirelessly over the years writing new material, often on the one album before the previous has been completed, and even a break in the band didn’t deter him. In fact, it fuelled his writing, recording and performing (with other bands) and this resulted in over 20 albums of original material, most of it unreleased.
The band split in 1994 but reformed in 2004 for a reunion show. This, however, wasn’t a permanent reunion but 2016 saw a re-birth of Legion and, despite 22 years apart, it sounds like Doug and Loy have never been separated. Original members Chuck Goodwin and Marvin Mitchum have also returned to the band.
Says Doug Calloway: “We have rekindled the fire in our hearts and nothing short of DEATH will separate us ever again.”
So what of this album? Produced by Doug Calloway (who has also done the cover artwork) and re-mastered by Kostas Scandalis, this is both an unreleased album from 1985 and a previously unreleased compilation spanning 1985-1990, now for the first time on cd.
At just over an hour and twenty minutes, it is 21 tracks long and, quite possibly, should have been released as two separate albums, as they were intended, but I can see the logic behind it. As most cd’s can hold 80 minutes of music, why not put two albums on the same cd? Listeners are exposed to even more music and two albums from those long lost archives see the light of day. It’s a win-win situation all around.
As with the previous release “Darkness”, which itself was also a compilation of the first album “Darkness” originally released in 1991, and the previously unreleased fourth album “For We Are Many”, this has a very retro feel to it, sounding like it was written and recorded in the 1980’s. Very much focused on the extensive vocal range of Loy Mitchum, who could, in my opinion, give the likes of Rob Halford, King Diamond and Geoff Tate a run for their money, it is actually one of those “love it or hate it” albums. Some people might think the high pitch vocals are too much on this album, used a lot more here than the previous recording. As I said in my last Legion review I love the higher range vocals in metal music, but I must admit, that I did grow a bit tired of it on “Bible of Stone”
That being said, the guitar work of Doug, along with the solid percussion section, the speed metal riffs and the thrash metal guitar and drum work, that gives this band their sound, prove there is more to them than just vocals. Each is a very talented musician and I would like to add here that I do not think Loy Mitchum is a bad singer, which is by no means the case. His vocal range can extend from the very lowest to the very highest and I think he should make more of the range he possesses.
So who should listen to this album? Well, according to their own PR notes, this is for fans of Deadly Blessing, Metal Church, Omen and Enchanter, but I think every metal lover should add it to their collection. They have described themselves on Facebook as a “power metal” band but I think they have sold themselves short. Flitting from sounding like Exciter and Agent Steel to Metal Church and King Diamond, there are also reminiscences of heavy Led Zeppelin, and even early Rush.
To me, they have such a wide appeal, that to try and pigeon-hole them would be wrong and insulting to them as musicians. And why do we need to categorise bands anyway? Let bands play the music THEY want to, how THEY want to.
That way, we, the fans, get to listen to a whole range of metal music and, like me, we get to find a little gem that we otherwise might not have found!
1. Bible of Stone
2. Running Away
3. Out Of The Blue
6. Eye of the Beholder
8. Red and Black
9. We’ve Been Watching
10. Welcome the Storm
11. Go to Sleep
14. Broken Pieces
15. Marie Mary
16. T-total Destruction
17. The Keeper
19. Tiny Acoustics
20. Endless Nights
21. No Place to Go
Chuck Goodwin – Bass
Marvin Mitcham – Drums
Doug Calloway – Guitars
Loy Mitcham – Vocals
This review is purely the property of Dawn Smith and The Metal Asylum