Forgotten legacy formed out of the ashes of the then disbanded Beyond Fallen. The group actually hails from my neck of the woods, having formed in Kingston, Pennsylvania back in 2009, it didn’t take the four piece long to record their debut release, The Oracle, a five song album that gives listeners a taste of the band’s potential with twenty five minutes of Power and Speed Metal. But, does this independent release compare to the lineage left behind by some of the group’s members, or even stand out in today’s Metal world?
Well, first of all, the production isn’t quite the greatest. Considering it’s an independent release, it’s not that shocking that the material sounds a little hollow and heavily digital, leading the album to sound too clear and kind of lose some of the bite that iot should have had. But, this doesn’t really hold the album back that much. While the instruments don’t really sound as rich as they should be, the guitars still manage to hold their own well enough, and the bass manages to add some extra bite to them, though some of the bass contributions go against the grain of performing exactly what the guitar does and brings in a little extra kick to the music, though that shows more on some tracks then others, such as on the song “Rage”. The drums sound good and really dominate in the final mix along with the vocals, but these two wind up coming off a little louder then they probably should be.
When it comes down to the music, The Oracle is a very strong release. The overall vibe of the album is like taking the theatrical performance concepts of Iron Maiden and mixing it with varying Judas Priest eras, from the early NWOBHM days to the later harder Heavy Metal sound, and also breathing in some King Diamond at times, but that is an approach involved mostly in the wide vocal range, which is often rather astounding as it goes between a general Heavy Metal vibe of contemporary clean singing with varying degrees of aggression behind it, as well as a strong falsetto performance at key times that work with the song instead of coming off as completely random. It sounds much more natural in the music due to some of the more Progressive elements to the band’s compositions that seem to take from some later Iced Earth, a band that shows strongly on the track “Cimmerian” thanks to the slower moments that change the flow of the music, right down to the chords that are used throughout the song. “Rage” also has a moment similar to this, but stands out more unique with the way it’s handled, taking on a more “psychotic” approach to the composition to work with the lyrical content and the literal set up prior to it’s execution, bringing in a strong chaotic approach to that bit, which also acts as the guitar solo, leaving the bass and awkward drumming to give off that performance, which they execute well.
One of the more interesting things is that, intentionally or not, some elements of this recording manage to contribute adding to the chaotic manner of the music. “The Darkness” has some sections that feel a little more psychotic as well, though also has some very impressive commanding moments wwhere the music picks up and just chugs away at a faster pace that hammers away at the listener. “Forgotten Legacy” also makes for an interesting track, ending the album on a bit of a somber note with it’s slower performance that feels more like it’s meant to be a Power Metal power ballad with some Iron Maiden theatrical performance elements drawn in, though keeping it more grounded as to not get too over-the-top. However, the song does have a decent build up from the start of the track, progressively getting harder and a little heavier, though the vocal performance doesn’t quite capture that feeling, retaining the same general approach through to the end of the song as it existed at the start. Had the falsetto vocals come in later during the chorus, as well as perhaps even started off a little more somber to match the general sound of the music, it would have been a much stronger and impressive track then it already is.
There’s not much else to say negatively about this recording that has already been mentioned. However, the production leave more to eb desired from the the guitar solos of the recording and their sounding a little hollow. The group does not utilize a rhythm guitarist and relies solely on the bass and drums to carry the music during the rather impressive guitar solos. While the bass is audible in the recording, it isn’t rich enough that it becomes a strong enough element of the music during these solos, leaving it to sound empty and be carried by the solo itself, as well as the drums, instead of having a prominant bass groove to the song that carries the general flow of the song and keep it feeling natural. These sections aren’t bad in any way, they just feel more naked then they could have. Sadly, this also becomes a bit of a problem for the song “2012”, the more galloping performance doesn’t really seem as rich as it could from the rather hollow sound of the music, and this impressive and catchy track feels a little lacking at times.
In the end, the final product of The Oracle is strong music that feels held back by an independent recording process that was performed in a too modern, digital manner that doesn’t flatter the band. The music of the recording may not be the most original material, showing traits of their heroes, and at times even of the act Beyond Fallen which some members came from, like with some of the music on “Rage”. One listen to The Oracle, however, will show you a band with plenty of potential and some unique traits, such as some of the more Progressive elements of their material, that manages to keep the band sounding a little different compred to many other acts that are shining through thanks to the varying revivals in Metal and it’s many styles. The release has it’s faults, but most lie in the production, and since it’s an independent release, it’s not necessarily the worst thing to find on an album of this caliber, and most of the time they could be overlooked. In short, Forgotten Legacy captures the spirit of old-school Heay Metal and unleashes it with authority and obvious devotion to it, and the music they craft. If you haven’t heard the band name yet, then it’s well worth familiarizing yourself with it.