Saturday, May 27, 2017

Legend (US) - "Fröm the Fjörds" [1979]

Artist: Legend
Title: Fröm the Fjörds
Genre: Heavy Metal, Folk/Prog Rock
Country: USA
Release date: 1979

Track List:
  1. The Destroyer
  2. The Wizard's Vengeance
  3. The Golden Bell
  4. The Confrontation
  5. R.A.R.Z.
  6. Against the Gods
  7. The Iron Horse
  8. From the Fjords
Another extremely overlooked release from the late 1970s that's a direct precursor to the viking metal scene of today. Like in case with many obscure early metal albums, I found out about Legend through the awesome Vibrations of Doom zine, which was one of my main sources of info about metal and industrial music back in the mid-2000s. They managed to do an interview with the former bassist of Legend, and I couldn't agree more with their desciption of this album:

"What can I say about one of THE best albums in the classic albums section! If this doesn't get number one of all 1,000 albums in my classic albums section, it's EASILY in the top three. Legend (U.S.) made a fantastic album entitled "From The Fjords," a piece of vinyl which is not only vastly superior to nearly ANYTHING else that came out that year, but also is one of the rarest and most expensive pieces of vinyl you will ever find. Despite a CD reissue which STILL has yet to see the light of day ANYWHERE, and almost NO information about ANY of the band members, somehow we were contacted from the original bass player to obtain a good copy of his one and only record. This masterpiece was recorded in 1979 and was light years, fuck, seemingly hundreds of years ahead of it's time, especially when you consider it's a U.S. band playing up the Viking and mythological imagery in the lyrics; something that the Scandinavian folk and viking metal community wouldn't fully embrace AT LEAST until 1988/1990 when Bathory's "Blood, Fire Death" and two years later "Hammerheart" would mold into recognition..."

...Well, I can certainly agree that at least the side A of this LP is indeed a masterpiece. Surely it isn't quite "metal" yet, more like heavier-than-average 70s prog rock with strong Scandinavian folk influences, but it doesn't make any of these 4 songs (especially the opening one, "Destroyer") any less great. The side B is slightly less interesting (and this album as a whole would be better without a song like "R.A.R.Z." or too lengthy drum solos in "The Iron Horse"), yet it's still quite enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the band, which was way ahead of its time, released only this one album and then disappeared competely. Their frontman Kevin Nugent started another metal band called Mercenary in 1981, yet they also have released only one 7'' single before Nugent died in 1983 due to an accidental overdose on back pain medication (however, there was also a "Tribute" cassette released in 1989, featuring 4 songs from early Mercenary demos that were then re-worked to be finished after the death of Nugent as a tribute). I haven't listened to any of that stuff yet, but it looks as promising as this Legend album, as it was recorded by apparently very talented musicians. Returning to "From The Fjords", I can only repeat that it's an unique album which I'd recommend to everyone who is interested in the early history of metal. It isn't very similar to the other early attempts at playing "epic" heavy metal (i.e. "Invasion" by Manilla Road or "Full Speed at High Level" by Heavy Load), yet it's a killer release which shouldn't be missed.

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