Hot off the Press

Legion | V

by Joe Mis
– Senior Columnist —

Legion VV is the fifth studio release from melodic metal rockers Legion. Despite being fronted by the seemingly boundless energy of Phil Vincent, Legion truly showcases the songwriting skills and massive guitar chops of Vince O’Regan. Edgy melodic metal is the name of the game, and O’Regan and friends deliver.

Legion brings a good deal of diverse experiences together in a “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” way. The band consists of vocalist Phil Vincent (solo artist, Tragik, D’Ercole, Circular Logik), guitarist, songwriter and producer Vince O’Regan (Bob Catley), bassist Gav Cooper (Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone / Paul Di’Anno’s Killers), drummer Steve Hopgood (Battlezone / Killers, Tank), and keyboard player Irv Parratt (Bob Catley). Each a veteran musician in his own right, the members of Legion work very well together and deliver a melodic metal gem. Phil’s vocals are as solid as always, bringing to mind Don Dokken. O’Regan’s guitar work is outstanding. He lays down impressive rhythm lines and his solos are tight and effective. Vince also handled the album’s production and mixing. Cooper, Hopgood and Parratt form a very tight and consistent rhythm section, seeming comfortable no matter the style of the song.

The album opens on a high with a very intense “Gotta Pay The Price.” This track is all about the guitars – high speed hooks, catchy rhythms, and a spiraling solo. Vincent’s mutil-layered vocals work well, and the band manages to keep up with O’Regan’s speedy fret work. The raunchy “Satisfy Me” is a bit slower, blending in a bit of glam metal over a pounding bass and drum line before O’Regan unleashes a blistering break. “Who Can You Trust” is a gritty, old school hard rock tune with a neat, flowing chorus and kicky drum line. “Every Beat Of My Heart” is a slow rocker with a very thick and driving rhythm line, but it almost feels like band is struggling to keep it low key / low speed, particularly during the pre-chorus and chorus. O’Regan’s leaping and diving solo on this track is very “George Lynch” sounding.

O’Regan and company continue their Dokken-esque sound on the dark and moody “Hanging By A Thread.” This is a mid-tempo gem with nicely done layered vocals and an awesome drum line. The band softens it touch a bit on the power ballad “Take You Away,” a track that allows Phil Vincent to demonstrate his full vocal range. This is the one track on the album that seems too drawn out, and it would have been stronger if it was a minute or so shorter. “Living In The Shadows” roars back in with a high energy riff and great teamwork on the bass and drums, while an awesome bass and drum groove drive the hard rocking “Not Fooling Anyone.”

Intense guitars are again the driving force behind “House Of Cards,” while the keyboards meld nicely with drums and bass to make “Lose Yourself” a different sounding track. The latter is quite probably one of the strongest Legion songs to date and almost has a Deep Purple vibe to it. O’Regan’s lead breaks are short but explosive, the best on the album. The old school sound returns on the upbeat “Brand New Day,” a great way to wrap the album.

While the engineering was solid, there were a few dragging fades outs and overall the mix seemed a bit overdone. Everything was crisp and clear, but it sounded a bit sterile at times.

V is a very strong album, and should appeal to all fans of guitar rock or melodic metal. Fans of Phil Vincent’s music will also be impressed, but should keep in mind that Legion’s music is a little heavier and edgier than his solo stuff. Legion’s V shows Vince O’Regan to be a masterful guitarist and a fine songwriter.

Genre: Melodic Metal

Phil Vincent (vocals)
Vince O’Regan (guitars)
Gav Cooper (bass)
Steve Hopgood (drums)
Irv Parratt (keyboards)

Track Listing:
1. Gotta Pay The Price
2. Satisfy Me
3. Who Can You Trust
4. Every Beat Of My Heart
5. Hanging By A Thread
6. Take You Away
7. Living In The Shadows
8. Not Fooling Anyone
9. House Of Cards
10. Lose Yourself
11. Brand New Day

Label: Z Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10