BEHOLDER - "THE LEGEND BEGINS" (DRAGONHEART)
"Oh no," I sighed when I saw this CD, "certainly not another Rhapsody wannabe?" Which, usually, means that you're going to get a load of music that is in some ways like Italian sympho-metallers Rhapsody, but dissimilar in various important aspects (including quality and actual compositions).
The first track, a cliche instrumental intro called "Enter the Realm", certainly doesn't discard these misgivings of doom and horror. There's the usual orchestral, Hollywood-like approach. Yep, another Rhapsody wannabe.
And then "The Ring of Freedom" starts. My ears experienced an almost tingling sensation, certainly not of displeasure. The song features male and female vocals by Patrick Wire and Leanan Sidhe respectively. The former falter a bit here and there, but the female vocals are crystal clear, enchanting, yes, angelic! The male vocals seem to gather conviction from the third song onwards, delivering slightly melancholic melodies amid songs that get better and better towards the end of the album.
"Call for Revenge", the fourth track, found me having wholly adjusted my opinion of the album. The intro is definitely cliche and Wire's vocals definitely falter here and there in the second track, but after that there is a lot of enjoyment to be had. In fact the vocal approach reminded me a bit of Heresiarh, which is good. Apart from the folky ballad "The Ancient Prophecy - The Journey", which doesn't altogether convince, the album is fine. "Until Darkness Falls" starts off as if it's one of those ballads that takes itself way too seriously (especially Wire's vocals), but after that becomes one of the many moments of excellence that are to be found on "The Legend Begins".
With good songs and ditto instrument control, I for one certainly hope that the legend will continue.
Written May 2001
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