EP Review: Legionary – Prison Realm (Self Released)

Bronx-based, one-man Melodic Death/Thrash Band Legionary will release a brand new EP titled Prison Realm, on the 14th of June.

Legionary is a death/thrash/melodic metal band, originally formed in The Bronx and while they started life as a full on touring band, they are now, and have been for a while, a one-man project headed by Frank D’Erasmo. Frank uses the services of some of the best metal musicians in the Tri-State area to form the right band for each release as he focuses purely on studio work. Legionary released their self titled debut way back in 2010, following that up in 2012 with the first full length, Arcane Divisions. Over the years since then there have been regular drops of singles and EPs.

Each one of the releases shows a really evolution within Legionary, sometimes playing more melodically, sometimes more death and sometimes leaning more towards thrash. Perhaps inspired by the different musicians and their playing styles, the one thing that you can guarantee is that no Legionary release sounds exactly like another. Something that quickly becomes apparent again here on the 4 track Prison Realm. Of those 4 tracks, we have 3 new ones and 1 remaster of the title track of the debut album, Arcane Divisions.

Here, on Prison Realm, Legionary have drafted in the considerable skills of Tony Barhoum on lead guitars and Chris Clancy on vocals to add to the talent of  Frank D’Erasmo who, as well as writing it all, and designing the artwork, looks after rhythm guitars, drums and bass. That’s for the first 3 tracks whereas the remaster obviously contains original members in Frank on rhythm guitars and drums, Tony Barhoum on lead guitars, Mike Carra on bass and Brian Kingsland on vocals.

Legionary Prison Realm Frank
Photo Credit: Frank D’Erasmo

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Speaking about the new EP, Legionary main man, Frank D’Erasmo issued the following statement:

“For years, I’ve been wanting to have a clean singer on a Legionary record. As my melodies continued to get better, it just seemed like the next logical progression for me to take. I did everything else that I wanted to musically (write an 11-minute epic, write multiple brutal/epic EPs), so it just seemed like the right time. This new EP features Chris Clancy, vocalist of Mutiny Within, so fans of his work should love this EP. The first three tracks are brand new and mix the past brutal elements of Legionary with a new proggy feel, as well as the clean vocals. The melodies on this EP are my strongest yet, and I truly believe people will find that these tracks have a lot of replay value! The final track is a remake of an old Legionary song (the title track from our one and only album, Arcane Divisions). The original recording was less than stellar, but we always loved the track, so re-recording it felt like a great idea. This EP blends the new with the old!”

Prison Realm opens with the song Question Everything bringing a gentle melodic intro at first to ease you in. That soon transforms into a banging melodic electric guitar backed by a decent riff and crunchy drums. The melody drops back to leave a riff heavy and drum crazy track with viciously barked vocals. The vocals move in tone a bit too, which adds a nice touch of variety. The chorus drips, bringing back the melody and clean vocals. It’s very catchy. The verses are chaotic, even a little messy, but it adds a little touch of extra intensity through that chaos. It works well because the chorus pulls all the chaos back in suddenly and organises everything. The thrash and melodeath styles are prominent, showcased even further when the banging solo takes over for a bit before transitioning back into the heaviness for a close to this very strong opener.

The title track Prison Realm has a really quirky stop start thing going on at the beginning before the melodic lead guitars bring a bit of order and get the drums and bass to fall in line with them. It’s another heavy and energetic track with an impressive vocal performance ranging from different tones of roared vocals and plenty of cleans that trade off back and forth with each other. The drums are frenetic and fiery, the riffs are bassy and shake you. There is a massive groove section half way through that you just have to bang your head to. That’s fire, and it leads into a wicked solo as well, just to add to the massive dollop of metal being thrown in our faces here. It’s another strong track from Legionary.

Neuroweaponry brings more of the same but in a good way. Fast and fiery verses packed with heavy riffing and quick drumming hits you hard with a furious energy before it transitions into a more melodic and clean chorus. It’s catchy and makes you want to sing, before the verses drop and make you want to move. I find it very easy and comfortable to listen to. The song, maybe the whole of Prison Realm, feels familiar in that there is a lot of just what you would expect and hope for in a good metal track. The solo is great, as is the riff and drum lines sitting behind it. Legionary deliver yet another damn fine metal track here.

So we close out the EP with the remake of Arcane Divisions. I don’t know the original, if I’m honest so I get to listen to this like a first ever listen and won’t be judging how much it has or hasn’t improved on the original release. It’s a significantly longer track of 7 and a half minutes, and has an absolutely epic start with melodic drawn out lead guitars dropping emotion over you. The drop comes and it transforms into a really hard verse. The drums are frantic, the riffs hard and the vocals are menacing comes out rapidly and moving up and down through different harsh tones. There is a nice underlying bass adding groove still though and you will find yourself involuntarily headbanging along.

Being a longer song, there is a bit more time to expand into so we get moments of bass soloing and a really gorgeous slow down half way through into a gentle lead guitar, then a switch into a riffing section. Plenty more groove and meaty riffing hits with more hard verses and we get a stunning solo as we near the end as well. What more could you want?

Legionary have delivered a really energetic and hard hotting EP with Prison Break. It isn’t game changing, there isn’t anything here that you haven’t heard before, it’s just meaty melodic metal and thrash with all the best elements thrown in the mix. Good intros, catchy choruses, aggressive riffing and vocals and banging solos across all 4 of the tracks. The EP is well produced and very professional sounding, managing to sound like a studio recording but capturing a bit of a live energy vibe too. Clearly a talented man, with talented support here, there is a lot to admire and I found myself comfortably listening to 4 tracks of strong metal that I feel you could play at any point, to anyone, and they will all find enjoyment here.

Preorder your copy of Prison Realm, by Legionary from this link or grab it for your favoured streaming platform at this link.

Legionary Links

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  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

Legionary - Prison Realm (Self Released)

By Artist: Legionary

Album name: Prison Realm

  • The Final Score - 9/10
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