We’re very glad to have the opportunity to present you an interview with Vidarr from one of our favourite Epic Metal bands: Legendry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Enjoy reading!
Hi, Vidarr, thank you very much for your time! How are you doing?
Vidarr: You’re quite welcome! I’m well! As a band we’ve been enjoying the response to both our new Heavy Metal Adventure EP and the reissue double-disc of our first two albums. It’s been very cool working with Manilla Road’s own (both Phil on the EP and Neudi in releasing the works on his Golden Core label). While it may be some time before we head to the studio to realize the result we have been working hard on writing our next full album.
That is good news! What was the last album you listened to before answering my questions?
Well, earlier today it was Camel, and now I’m jamming In Hearing of Atomic Rooster. I’ve been largely obsessed with the 70s sounds over the last few years. Apart from that, some recent favorites have been the new Eternal Champion, and Dungeon Synth like Thangorodrim and Depressive Silence while painting.
Are you a vinyl freak? How big is your collection? And what’s your most precious gem?
I have somewhere around 300+ records, but for me, CDs are what I have the most of, and tend to collect more readily (that collection is somewhere around 800-900). As for precious albums, that’s a good question. I have a few rare albums, but my King Crimson collection (complete through Three of a Perfect Pair) is most important to me – many, many listens there, and a discography I have never “updated” to CD.
I think there are still some readers who don’t know Legendry up to now. Can you tell them a bit about your band history so far? And: Why did you found Legendry?
Legendry is, and will remain, a three piece Epic Metal band. Our primary influence and inspiration is Manilla Road, and their approach to Heavy Metal. Our songs deal with fantasy themes: early on from the works of Robert E. Howard, and now from prose sword and sorcery works of my own. One primary objective, from a purely mechanical sense, is creating a “full” sound with only three members, and working with that challenge has brought forth some interesting creative solutions. We formed Legendry to be a kind of medieval fantasy Hawkwind. Including long instrumental sections and extended solo breaks have always been a part of what makes Legendry’s music what it is. Founding the band was purely a means to create the music we wanted to hear, with all trends and conventions/expectations thrown aside.
How would you define your own musical style? Is Epic Metal a fitting label? And what do you think about such labels in general?
I think to the Manilla Road slogan from their early days here: people they ask us, what do you play? There’s only one thing to say: We’re Manilla Road. I think that Epic Metal is definitely the best term to use, but I’ll leave the specific genre tagging to someone else. When we write songs, they’re judged on their merit and how they’ll fit the particular feeling we want to create, not whether they’ll fit the genre. I think basic genre labels are just fine: there is certainly a distinction to be made between the sound of Power Metal and Black Metal, for example. From a creative perspective, I think it can be limiting. Using the term Epic Metal allows us a bit of freedom, because it’s something loosely defined.
In my reviews about your records I pointed out your magical guitar melodies which really go to the heart. What are your favourite guitar players? Who inspired you the most?
Thanks for that compliment! To create meaningful melodies and emotive passages has always been my goal. Favorite players currently are Andrew Latimer from Camel, and Alan Holdsworth, but always Frank Zappa, Richie Blackmore, Robert Fripp, and of course Mark Shelton. I’ve gone through many phases where I’ve studied everything I can about a band or player. Each of the above players has inspired me in different ways, and I’ve taken a bit of their style and grafted it onto my own. When it comes down to it though, I think of myself more as a composer than a player. What I mean here is that I consider every aspect of the sounds we put together, and how they’ll work together. When it comes to the guitar solo parts of our music: that’s just the “fun” part for me.
What do you think about the North American underground Metal scene? And can you tell us something about the scene in Pennsylvania? Are there any bands that you would like to recommend?
I think there is a wealth of great bands creating new “oldschool” Heavy Metal these days, but I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still catching up with the 70s, and edging into the 80s, so there are a ton on the “list” I still have to check out. As far as the geographic area we’re from, there are quite a few great bands: Lady Beast, Argus, Ironflame, and newcomers Iron Brigade just to name a few.
What’s your favourite Metal band from Germany? If you don’t name them: What’s your opinion about Atlantean Kodex?
A favorite from Germany would be nearly impossible: Germany has such a rich tradition in Heavy Metal. As a favorite: maybe Accept, Blind Guardian or Helloween. Really there are just too many to consider. As for Atlantean Kodex, they’re certainly up there. I have to admit, I haven’t listened to them as much as I should. It’s rare that I find myself in a mood for Doom/slower Heavy metal.
What are your favourite Metal festivals? Where do you want to play in the future – after this damned pandemic?
Of course Keep it True and Up the Hammers festivals are two that I would most like to eventually be able to attend or perform at. Also in the US there is Legions of Metal. Truly, it would be fantastic to play just about any festival after the pandemic allows us all to gather again!
Last question: Crystal Logic or Open the Gates?
Crystal Logic, for sure: I think that the album bridges the gap nicely between the early, more psychedelic albums and the later fast/aggressive albums. Personally, I prefer the earlier period of the band (albums like Metal and Dreams of Eschaton), although Manilla Road (like Jethro Tull for me) is a band with many sounds and “eras”, all of which I appreciate and enjoy.
Thanks a lot, Vidarr. Stay healthy!
Thank you, and likewise!