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(38:48, Unicorn Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Prodigal Son 4:10 2. Domino 4:59 3. Collateral Damage 4:26 4. Moving On 1:15 5. Nineteen Strong 4:01 6. Internal Smut 4:08 7. Legacy 6:05 8. Mea Culpa 3:29 9. 202 6:10 LINEUP: Ryan Rosoff – guitars; vocals Mike Esperanza – bass Eddy Garcia – drums With: Several additional musicians
Prolusion. “Legacy of Fools”, the latest offering from America’s LITTLE KING, is a successor to the band’s first release “Virus Divine” from three years ago. Although the outfit has existed since 1997, only songwriter, guitarist and singer Ryan Rosoff never left it during these eleven years. Of course, this latest remark could have been expressed in a different way.
Analysis. Noticeably less edgy than its predecessor (in all senses, but partly because the group uses the typically ‘seventies’ tones of electric guitar here, with no distinct metalloids), “Legacy of Fools” has less in common with “Virus Divine” than I expected it would, the similarity between the recordings beginning to manifest itself only closer to the middle of this one. On the first three of the nine tracks present, Prodigal Son, Domino and Collateral Damage, the band displays influences predominantly from ‘70s standard Hard Rock and semi-acoustic balladic stuff, the last two of these more often alternating the corresponding sections than the first one, which is a heavier and at the same time groovier, much more straightforward tune, characterized by the frequent unison playing. In all, the disc’s first third is a slightly nostalgic mixture where the echoes of “Razamanaz” and “Malice in Wonderland” (two very different efforts by Nazareth) are heard somewhat more often than those of Sweet’s “Off the Record” or anything else by Tyrannosaurus Rex either and, you see, none of the cited titles belong to the best creations of those behind them. The vocals, however, are reminiscent of Geddy Lee’s, traditionally, but to a lesser degree than on most of the following tracks. Moving On and Nineteen Strong are both unhurried ballad-like songs with no evident outside factors, except for the latter’s finale where, like the shadow of a bomber, the Rush inflexion comes to surface for the first time. The sole instrumental in the set, Internal Smut, is for the most part a rhythmic hard rock race (still with more hints of Nazareth than those of Ryan’s primary mentors) with a few guitar pizzicatos and some Jimmy Page-style soloing somewhere in its core. Bright electric guitar solos are rare callers in “Legacy of Fools”, so many might welcome Ryan’s widely deploying acoustic guitar parts here, which, though not a novelty in Little King’s instrumentation, still determine much of the outfit’s identity, providing the compositions with some sense of freshness. The last three tracks on the CD, Legacy, Mea Culpa and 202, are particularly representative in this respect, all now sounding like light versions of Rush, now like probably anyone else, the first two revealing fine string arrangements in places.
Conclusion. All the tracks here are made clearly with the purpose of appealing to undemanding mainstream rock fans, and even the press release of “Legacy of Fools” doesn’t hide that fact in the final analysis, defining the recording as nothing other than “Rock”. I’m from a different (kind of hostile in a way) camp, and so I am not the one to properly describe this music or fairly value it either. A few years ago Unicorn Records acquired its (first) ‘metal’ sub-label which became home for a number of non-progressive heavy bands. Maybe, it’s time to establish another one?
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