Legacy – s/t (2010, Eonian Records)
- Salvation Is Law
- It’s Real
- Cross The Line
- Forever In Your Arms
- Don’t Run Away
- Red, White And Blue
- Change Of A Broken Heart
- Comin’ Along
- Soldiers Unite
- One Way Or Another
- Live It
- What A World
- Model Citizen
- Vision Of Perfection
Doug Meacham – Lead Vocals
Matt Rice – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Fred Blanchard – Guitars & Backing Vocals
John D. Rice – Bass & Backing Vocals
“Jungle” John Jenkins – Drums
Executive Producer: Stephen Craig
Country: Columbus, Ohio USA
Total Time = 56:26
Legacy is a Christian Metal band from Columbus, Ohio that fell through the cracks back in the late ’80s. Back in Metal’s commercial heyday, Christian Metal, or White Metal, was considered something of an oddity even though you had the commercially successful Stryper breaking though to radio and MTV and touring nationally. Even though bands in the Christian Rock scene had a loyal legion of fans, the genre was more niche and you had many other bands like Barren Cross, Messiah Prophet, Whitecross and Petra releasing albums and touring in relative obscurity. Legacy followed the same path as many ’80s bands did by writing and gigging but they never received a proper record deal, the band disbanded in 1992 and their music remained unreleased…..until now. Eonian Records has stepped up to the plate again to release another long lost set of recordings that should have seen a proper release back when they were recorded. Through cooperation with the band, Eonian has released Legacy’s debut album, LEGACY.
Legacy’s sound is definitely ’80s Hard Rock and Metal so if your a fan of that era then you’re going to hear influences from Stryper, Dokken, Firehouse and a bit of the Scorpions. All the instrumentation is top quality, Matt Rice and Fred Blanchard are a talented and formidable guitar duo while the rhythm section of John Rice and John Jenkins are as solid as they come. What defines the Legacy sound is the vocals. As with most ’80s bands, a solid singer is the key to success as they were the primary focal point of the band. Doug Meacham is a solid singer that draws obvious comaprisons to Don Dokken and Michael Sweet (Stryper) but I can also hear some Ted Poley (Danger Danger) and C.J. Snare (Firehouse). Overall, the music has all the big ’80s characteristics with the big harmonies, catchy chrouses, solid riffs and solos and that melodic hook that keeps you coming back for more.
Opening with an acoustic guitar intro, ‘Salvation Is Law’ starts the album with a fast Metal pace showcasing the guitars and you forget all the stereotypes of Christian Metal not rocking hard. Same thing goes for ‘It’s Real’ and ‘Cross The Line’, these songs are heavy on the Metal riffs and leads but the commercial aspect comes through Meacham’s lead vocals and the background harmonies. The Stryper/Dokken influence is obvious with the commercial sounding ‘Forever In Your Arms’, a hit single back in the ’80s if I ever heard one! Doug Meacham sounds very much like Don Dokken here and there’s a bit of an echo effect on the vocals but the guy still has plenty of melodic range, this is one of my favorite tracks on LEGACY. This is how the album flows: a couple of heavy and metallic songs followed by an overly commercial sounding song, and on and on.
‘Don’t Run Away’ has a very heavy main riff but it sounds a little processed while ‘Red, White & Blue’ is a mid-paced chugger that sounds like early U.S. Metal circa 1981/1982. Another commercial sounding track is ‘Change Of A Broken Heart’, definitely another possible hit for the band had they found a record deal back in the day. It’s a melodic single with huge harmonies on the chorus and crystal clear solos, the Metal grit from other songs is gone and it kind of reminds me of PRIDE era White Lion, good song though. Following the album’s pattern, ‘Comin’ Along’ revs into high gear again with a solid guitar sound and big vocals, ‘Soldiers Unite’ is a metallic battle cry with some high pitched vocals from Meacham and ‘One Way Or Another’ races along until the chorus. ‘Live It’ enters commercial Stryper territory with that big clean sound and, for the first time, I really notice the religious lyrics. That’s the thing with a lot of Christian Metal bands, the lyrics are usually too obvious but on this album they really aren’t and that makes it a little more listenable for me. Legacy returns to the heavy with the straight forward pounder ’What A World’ and an Iron Maiden influence on the guitarwork in ‘Model Citizen’ and ‘Visions Of Perfection’. Actually, the twin leads on ‘Visions OF Perfection’ is almost dead on to Dave Murray & Adrian Smith but the vocals aren’t close to Bruce Dickinson by any means, Doug Meacham going for a more melodic and reserved approach compared to the Dickinson’s air raid siren although he does hit some high notes.
You can just hear the potential Legacy had back in the mid to late ’80s, they could be heavy and fast and then go opposite and cater to the MTV generation. Maybe this is the reason they didn’t get signed? Maybe the band’s varying sound made it harder to put them in a specific style? Back then label executives had to have something to sell and it usually meant the softer, more melodic, “hair band” style. Legacy has a few of those songs but the rest are straight up Heavy Metal that could sit alongside an Armored Saint or a Steeler or other heavier L.A. Metal bands. I was pleasantly surprised by this album and I didn’t even know it was Christian Metal until I read the promo kit and CD booklet. I like the White Metal bands too so it would have never been an issue for me just like Satanic-influenced Metal doesn’t bother me either. It’s great to finally discover Legacy and the great music they made in the late ’80s but it’s a crime to have to wait 20+ years to hear it! Congratulations to Eonian Records for another solid release and here’s to Legacy continuing theirs with some new music soon.