Plenty of bands these days take influence from the more obscure classic metal staples like Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol, probably more than those groups ever could’ve hoped for honestly. However, most of them seem to use it as more of a secondary influence to prop up a more prominent style. Pittsburgh’s Legendry (Not gonna lie, I totally didn’t realize that was actually a word until I Googled it) may not be as well-known as their peers in Visigoth or Eternal Champion, but their second full-length offers an authentic representation of that old nerd metal style.
Seeing how Dungeon Crawler is out just a year after their debut Mists of Time, it makes sense for this album to share many of its predecessor’s tropes. The bare bones production doesn’t undermine the fantastical tone, the guitar riffs are raw and catchy on “Quest for Glory” and “A Witch Is Born,” and the vocals offer a nasally, reverbed delivery that’s somewhere between Mark the Shark and Pagan Altar’s Terry Jones.
However, Legendry has gotten a lot more confident in that time. While Mists of Time shows a good though somewhat amateurish Manilla Road clone (Complete with “Necropolis” cover), Dungeon Crawler shows a great deal of improvement as the songwriting is much tighter and the musicianship has more power behind it. The vocal style may still be a deal-breaker, and it’s easy to imagine these songs going well with a more Dickinson-inspired delivery, but it still fits what they’re going for.
The album also stands out for its prominent 70s prog influence, something that was barely hinted at on its predecessor. The longer lengths on the title track and “The Conjurer” aren’t far removed from past tracks but the heavy keyboard influence and occasional rock riff patterns do put them in more distinct territory. “The Edge of Time” goes even further, casting the metal out in favor of more melodic guitar work and more intricate drum beats.
Overall, Legendry’s second album shows major progress in their personal evolution. The Pittsburgh group may still need a bit more polish to reach a more prominent spot in the American traditional metal scene but their dedication to crafting excellent songs to an old school style will definitely endear them to fans of the old guard. Either way, it’s a surprise highlight that’ll hopefully get them even more momentum.
“Quest for Glory”
“A Witch is Born”
“Shadows in the Moonlight”
Dungeon Crawler is now available via Legendry’s Bandcamp page.