A bit more than four years have passed since the local band Feradur surprised me with its debut record, and the journey to the follow-up has been a wild one, to say the least. Shortly after the release of the first album, the guys amicably parted ways with their vocalist, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the new man on the mic brought a fresh energy and expertise to the ensemble, as well as a third pair of hands that plays a guitar. They were then hit with several bumps during the recording of the new songs, one of which was when a large portion of their gear was stolen, but the wait is finally over and I am excited to give you my thoughts on the mammoth that is Legion!
The quintet essentially stays true to the previously established melodic death metal sound, but the creativity has definitely been ramped up and the influences seem to be coming from a more diverse mix of genres, resulting in a gripping amalgamation of soundscapes. At times you can feel a progressive metal vibe, then at other times it turns semi-symphonic, but the result is always the same: you end up with a hefty metal slap in the face.
It is easily noticeable that Feradur has evolved quite a bit since they put out Epimetheus in 2015, because not only has the musicianship of every single member reached new levels, but the songwriting is also a lot more coherent and, dare I say, memorable. Each of the eleven tracks has a hook that will nest itself into your ear canal, be it in the form of a “catchy” chorus like those of Deus or Of Greater Deeds, or via an unexpected aural shift as during the second half of Fake Creator. One, admittedly stupid, nitpick I have though, is the fact that the majority of the songs ends in the exact same way: abruptly.
Time to get to the major new element: the vocalist! Back when I wrote my first review, I praised the original singer’s performance and I still stand by that statement, because it fit the music the guys were playing at the time perfectly…but I have to give credit where credit is due: the new man behind the mic absolutely kills it! His growls are pure evil packed into sonic form and his screeches will chill you right to the bone, and on top of that he has a fairly precise and clear enunciation, which make it possible to make out most of the lyrics without even having to refer to the booklet.
Earlier, I jokingly mentioned a minor gripe I had with these fifty-one minutes, and I wish I could end this review there, but there is another one I have, which takes Legion from a perfect melodic death metal record, to “just” a very good one. In some portions of the record, the mixing and the mastering are really off, in my opinion, and it results in the fact that at times the guitars just create this wall of sound that make it almost impossible to discern any specifics. Which is a true shame since there are so many excellent riffs and drum patterns hidden all throughout. Now, to be fair, I should add that that I listened to the album on non-high-end in-ear headphones every time, except during the writing of the review where I used my non-high-end speakers and the latter made quite a difference. So, I am cautiously saying that this is just not a headphone-record, which is not necessarily bad. That’s for you to decide.
All in all, Feradur have a true gem on their hands and I can guarantee that they shred the living hell out of the songs if you get to witness them in a live setting. Now, the best way to experience Legion will be on June 22nd, when the band is inviting you all to their release party in Dudelange’s Atelier D, but if you want a pre-listening session, you can also head to Rock Solid this Friday, June 14th, where a DJ will play the entire record for you. Until then, be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and check out the video below!