Legions of the Night – Sorrow is the Cure Review

German power metal trio Legions of the Night was formed during the course of 2020, the obvious time in our history to assemble a group of people to collaborate closely on a new project. It brings together founding member Jens Faber, drummer Philipp Bock (both of Dawn of Destiny) and singer Henning Basse (ex-Metalium and Firewind, among others). That line-up, together with the fact that their debut includes a cover of Savatage’s “Sirens,” might give you some sense of what to expect from this album. It generated certain expectations in me, anyway, none of them particularly positive. I can get on board with a bit of Savatage at the right moment but do I need Hall of the Mountain King reimagined through a German power-metal lens? I’m not so sure but I guess we’re about to find out whether Sorrow is the Cure for my low expectations.

Cue sorrowful key arrangement and crooning spoken word intro (including the incredible line “just go inside if you got balls” – yeah dude, just, grow a pair and fucking get inside!) to completely torpedo my expectations deliver the perfect opening cliché. Things do pick up from there, however, as a fun, chugging power metal riff kicks in, ably supported by some thumping drums, replete with occasional fills. This really sets the pattern for Sorrow is the Cure, as Legions of the Night shift through the gears (and the tropes) over the next 50 minutes and change. Think chugging riffs and overblown, widdly solos, groovy bass, grandiose arrangements and big choruses with multi-voice backing (presumably Faber and Bock but they could be multi-tracked) for Basse. Basse himself throws the kitchen sink at this, with a theatrical performance ranging from what GardensTale would call sprechgesang and low, growled croons, through rhythmic singing and soaring cleans to warbling falsetto screams, with no opportunity for drama missed. At times this escalates to Iced Earth levels of melodrama, with sections of the meaty “Pay the Price,” for example, recalling the mini-Civil War opera on The Glorious Burden.

While the band cite early Savatage as their main influence, and this aspect of their sound is clear to hear (and not only in the very decent “Sirens” cover that closes Sorrow is the Cure), Legions of the Night also channel elements of Avantasia, Iced Earth and even Them into their sound, as well as the members’ other projects, recent Dawn of Destiny being more prominent in the melting pot than Metalium. That is perhaps unsurprising since Faber is the principal songwriter. After the unnecessarily cliched intro that begins it, opener “Train to Nowhere” is a compelling, rousing slab of Euro power to kick off the record, with “Walls of Sorrow” in a very similar mold, and the stomping “Shout and Save” a ton of fun, despite some overblown theatrics. The title track is a well-written epic, which offers more delicate notes than much of the other material on the record, while also letting Bock show off a bit behind the kit. Not everything works though, with the cringe-inducing, synth-driven, percussion-free (save for a solitary cymbal crash) “Rescue Me” grating for every one of its four minutes.

Sorrow is the Cure is a solid record held back by a couple of things. First, at just shy of an hour, it’s too long. A good start would be to cut “Rescue me” entirely. The “Sirens” cover could also stand to go. Although actually a decent cover, “Pay the Price” would be a much stronger and more coherent note to finish the record on. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Legions of the Night try to do a bit too much on every song. The band seeks to deploy their whole toolbox every time. A little more restraint would help to differentiate better between the tracks. The production is fine and, in any event, sounds better than the DR5 score would suggest. Although I could do without a few of the effects deployed on the vocals, these are thankfully deployed sparingly.

Legions of the Night are not doing anything terribly new or original here but nor are they pretending to. I went into Sorrow is the Cure hoping it could help me with my yearly average, which is creeping dangerously close to a 3.0, coming off the back of a horrible run of 4.5-3.5-3.5-3.5. And I am rather disappointed to say that this is good. It’s not great but it’s good, sporting some strong songs and performances from all three members that I genuinely enjoyed.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Pride and Joy Music
Website: facebook.com/legions-of-the-night
Releases Worldwide: August 20th, 2021

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