In Legend
Ballads 'n' Bullets

1. Heaven Inside
2. Pandemonium
3. Elekbö
4. At Her Side
5. Vortex
6. Life Is Up To You
7. The Healer (inkl. Remedy)
8. Yue
9. Soul Apart
10. Stardust feat. Inga (Van Canto)
11. A Hanging Matter
12. Prestinate
13. Heya
14. Universe

Bastian Emig – piano, vocals
Daniel Wicke – bass
Dennis Otto - drums



Produced by Bastian Emig and Stefan Schmidt
Recorded at Exajoule Studios
Drums recorded at Twilight Hall Studios by Charlie Bauerfeind
Mixed and mastered by Bastian Emig and Jürgen Lusky at HOFA

Released 23/5-2011
Reviewed 16/6-2011


There are hundreds of thousands ways to play music and one of the most common ways to do it is by using a piano and build from there. But when it comes to rock and more specifically hard rock this is less commonly. Virgin Steele does it, Keane does it and some other bands as well, but it's definitely not the usual way to play (hard) rock. Personally I find bands using the clavier very welcome to the scene because there is something special with music orchestrating the melodies with the piano. Some of the worlds best albums and songs has had the piano in focus, like My Immortal by Evanescence. Where would that be without the piano? How would Don't Stop Believin' have sounded without the Hammond intro? And considering this, I find the piano led In Legend as a good and welcome since they're doing piano oriented rock music.

Clearly, though, it's not without some issues that this debut is delivered. Regardless of how it sounds when you give them a quick run in the player and think it sounds great, you'll soon realise that what lies beneath have some flaws. Bastian Emig, for example, isn't the greatest vocalist the world has seen. I think he sounds more like someone in desperate need of a shit and is really annoyed for not getting a chance to get to a toilet than someone that can make angels cry and girls fly and guys sing along il' they die. The melodies are simple and isn't really revealing anything more than what you hear the first time you hear them. That's the immediate negative reactions you'll get. The positive comes from songs like Pandemonium and At Her Side, which are songs where Bastians voice along with the simple melodies come out at their best. These three guys can hardly be considered as the greatest musicians in the world and this album isn't my guess to what the world has missed during our five billion years of existence and evolution. But, when it comes to terms with itself and turn its best side up - this album can chop through silver, break fire and butcher a rabbit just by playing that piano.

However, it's not as simple as that to let go of the critical side and just celebrate them them uncontrollably. When this band isn't at their best this band really lose their points fast, just like any other band. To me, this album isn't suffering from the most common problem with albums of today which is a too long album. Instead it suffers from having too many songs. Why do we really need 14 songs? Can anyone come up with a debut album that has 14 songs that are great? Or any album with 14 songs that are great? Which isn't a best-of or a live collection or something like that? No, exactly. There aren't very many of them, if any, and to release 14 songs written for the same album and play them in a straight row is almost impossible. Especially for a debuting band. Somebody should have put their foot down during the recording process and said "that's enough!" somewhere, somewhat earlier than after the fourteenth song. One might think that 14 isn't too big of a difference compared to 12 or 10, but it is! It's another few songs that should be good and fit in on the album without repeating the other ones. And that's not something you do as simple as you shave your scrotum. But In Legend then? Have they succeeded? Mp! They don't succeed to get 14 great songs on their 'Ballads 'n' Bullets'.

I think about five songs on this album is really good, five of them are just good and the rest are so-so. Not really my cup of crackers. They have a taste of yoghurt that you feel from miles away. I wouldn't call it uneven but the quality is not very even. The songs that are the best are well worthy some time in your ears, which according to m are the previously mentioned Pandemonium and At Her Side, as well as Heya, Universe and the beautiful but somewhat misplayed Yue. The songs to stay away from are Vortex (very much that one) as well as Soul Apart, A Hanging Matter and Prestinate. While I think that in Legend do mostly listenable songs that are good or better, they have the problem to get the best out of the songs they've made. They hammer the piano like it was some sort of politician and they let the little misses stay in the music, almost like some sort of under paid factory worker at a plastic company that lets the faulty castings be. The sad fact is that while this album sounds very beautiful and so, it also sounds like some beat up booty that the cat has brought home. A bit of "we-do-this-like-this-to-sound-epic-by-putting-in-stuff-that-usually-is-in-epic-music-without-really-knowing-how-to-really-do-epic-music-feeling" hangs over the album. And before you say anything, let me just add this to the fully dedicated fans, I do get the concept with "ballads and bullets" - that it should be beautiful but somewhat chipped in the corners. However, this has that BUT ALSO an obvious touch of lacking knowledge and experience.

Now, if you are to get me wrong, then get me wrong the right way. It's not that I don't like 'Ballads 'n' Bullets'. I guess that I've hear more or less 3,18 million debut albums that are worse than this. And I really recommend this album because it is a piano led rock music that sounds really good! But what I want to clear to everyone is that it's not finished. The band isn't finished. They can do better! The can be legends. And it can be heard in this album that they can, but they've chosen not to polish the album more than they've done and if they're not willing to polish it better than this, they will never reach their full potential. And neither will they become really good until they do this.

'Ballads 'n' Bullets' is a good album with some real bullets, all though most of the album is decent without anything in particular to offer.


Label: Playground/SPV
Three similar bands: Keane/Apocalyptica/Katatonia
Recensent: Caj Källmalm
läs på svenska