Sunday, January 25, 2004

Review: Celtic Legacy - Resurrection (2003)

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With a name like Celtic Legacy, you'd probably assume this band to be of the European power metal type heavily influenced, both in lyrics and music, by the myths and history of the Celts. What the band offers on their sophomore album Resurrection is instead a solid slab of melodic metal in the tradition of Iron Maiden, Dokken, and Def Leppard. There are occasional Celtic references, such as the wonderful instrumental "Slóidephuch Dóin" and in the lyrics of "Children Of The Sky" (the band's rendition of The Children Of Lir, a saga from Irish mythology), but overall the disc is just good ol' classic metal.

The riffs and leads of co-founder Dave Morrissey and guitarist Darren Maher are top-notch throughout the album. "Live By The Sword" serves as the opening showcase for their talents, as the crunchy riff is simple yet catchy and the solo is quite expressive. The title track is by far my favorite of the album, and clocking in at over 10 minutes it's also the most epic. Right away the lads hit you with the addictive melody that carries through the tune. The anthemic, Irish-inspired riff is uplifting and haunting all at once. Vocalist Mark Guildea traverses his awesome range faultlessly, delivering an emotionally gripping performance which envelops you in the lyrics and heightens the mood created by Morrissey and Maher, whose twin-guitar harmonies are noteworthy and well-executed. Lyrically, "Resurrection" speaks of the reunification of Ireland - at least that's my interpretation - which I suppose for me makes the song a little more emotionally weighty. Celtic Legacy have outdone themselves with this highly dramatic piece. Another favorite of mine is "Slóidephuch Dóin", a guitar-driven instrumental track with distinct Irish flavor. This quick-paced little rocker will get your head to bangin' and your foot to stompin'. "Shine" first appeared on Celtic Legacy's debut album, but I am not familiar with that version so am unqualified to offer comparison. It is, however, a track where the bass of co-founder Dave Baylan comes to the fore and carries the song in tight synchronicity with drummer Stephen Cash. The choruses are excellent as well, hinting at the band's significant AOR influences. The heavy, chugging riff of "Emania - Shadows Of The Moonlight" brings to mind the works of Deep Purple and Rainbow, while the flute interlude lends a traditional Irish ambiance.

The story behind the making of Resurrection is just as intriguing as the music itself. In 2001, Celtic Legacy was over as a band because of the lack of support shown by metal fans in Ireland and abroad. A fan in Germany, however, took it upon himself to personally launch a fund-raising campaign to finance the reformation of the band and the recording of a new album. Thanks to his tireless devotion, Celtic Legacy reformed and created this wonderfully produced gem of metal. Now that's supporting the underground!

Track Listing
1 The fallen
2 Live By The Sword
3 Guardian Angel
4 Resurrection
5 Children Of The Sky
6 Timeless
7 Slóidephuch Dóin
8 Shine
9 Always The Hero
10 Emania - Shadows Of Moonlight
11 When A Stranger Comes

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