Dragony – Legends
I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Dragony? Someone actually just tacked a “y” onto the end of “dragon” and called it a band name?” I’m totally with you on that, because I don’t have any other explanation, but I get the impression numerous times throughout Legends that this band has a considerable sense of humor that they blend rather effortlessly with writing songs about warriors and dragons. Originally released independently in 2011, the grace and charity (yuk yuk) of Limb Music now ensures that more power metal fans the world over are going to get a shot at hearing and buying this debut album. Maybe it’s just because I’ve recently started paying attention, but I think that’s exactly what happened with Last Kingdom’s Chronicles Of The North earlier this year as well. If Limb has this great of a knack for picking up solid young power metal artists and re-releasing their debuts, I’m going to give them my full support!
Dragony’s style is mildly symphonic power metal of the fantasy persuasion, and it tends very much towards moderate tempos and a general lack of double bass. Many such as I will find this refreshing, as the band concentrates wholeheartedly upon choral arrangements, guitar leads, and many other elements that are often so easily hidden behind the brazen drive of double bass and tremolo picking. This tendency gives Dragony’s music the feeling of being a bit more transparent, and certainly less dense (a similarity to Black Wind favorites Keldian) than many releases in this style. For some of the best examples of this sound, check out the album’s lengthiest track, “The Longest Night”, or perhaps “Dragonslayer”. The support of the keyboards is consistent, mellow, and serves almost exclusively to uplift all of the other musical elements, whether it’s the organ tone in the intro of “Hero’s Return” or the pitter-patter of anticipation that marks the beginning of “Land Of Broken Dreams”. Because it’s not terribly prominent and rarely, if ever, carries the melody, I would hesitate to call this symphonic power metal. However, a couple of the later tracks on the album see the keys getting a bit more of their due.
Right, I’ll say it, this stuff kicks. It’s really hard not to enjoy Dragony’s take on a fun subject that they’re obviously self-conscious of. Surprisingly, I don’t actually find this to be a terribly cheesy album. The vocals of Siegfried Samer are often just rough enough to defy comparison to many of the more smooth, perhaps effeminate voices of the genre. Some may find that his singing takes adjusting to, but I jumped right in. At times, especially at the beginning of “The Ride”, he reminds a bit of a younger, less experienced Tobias Sammet (perhaps compare this song to some of Tobi’s singing in “The Final Sacrifice” of Avantasia fame). In any case, he helps Dragony attain at least a semblance of a unique sound, even if much of their inspiration is derivative. Many times, there are flashes of similarity to other greats of the genre (the chorus of “The Ride” sounds like it could have been pulled off of an early Freedom Call album, and “Alcador” sounds like magnificently melodic Dreamtale at its finest), but Dragony is able to mix things up enough that this is more like a collage of homages than a blatant ripoff of any artist, and with enough of an original twist that it is worth grabbing.
Favorite songs of mine include closer “Alcador”, which provides a flash of Finnish melodic intuition, as well as perhaps showing the most touches of a progressive hand. However, the classic power metal approach (with, *gasp*, double bass!) of “Wings Of The Night” makes it a shoe-in as well. The latter also features one of my favorite pre-choruses of the year so far (“IN THE SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT, IN THE ABSENCE OF ALL LIIIIIIIGHT!”), much to its credit. The only things that work against Dragony throughout this album are fairly small: being a bit simplistic, occasionally becoming a bit redundant, and not having a particularly strong individual identity. All of these are common plagues in the modern power metal scene, but Dragony rises head and shoulders above a great many of their comrades. For this, they are to be praised and showered in pieces of gold and silver for their noble efforts.
Legends is a very fun album with a pile of catchy material. Fans of the lighter side of the genre will not be disappointed in its mixture of bounding power metal and more somber moments. This band has a whole lot of promise, and they’re well aware that they’re playing in a portion of the genre that many are skeptical of. The fact that they’ve pressed on, laughing at themselves a bit, and still delivered a great debut is worthy of my admiration. I suggest that you give this one a listen and strongly consider picking up a cd!
Dan’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5