Fearless is the debut long-player from the icelandic duo of Krummi BjÃ¶rgvinsson and HalldÃ³r Ã. BjÃ¶rnsson, together known as Legend (named after the Ridley Scott movie.) They've been together since 2009, and have also played together in the 'murky country band' Esja. They've been taking their time, waiting to strike, and its clear they're gunning for the big time, with reviews starting to creep in from all over the globe, garnering comparisons to some of the biggest names in blackened electronic music. It becomes the task of the harried listener to seperate wheat from hyperbole, and decide for themselves if the music stands up against the one sheet.
The first question, and perhaps the most important, is do you like Industrial dance music (the esoteric genre known as EBM)? For people that like their beats martial, like to stomp combat boots on concrete and dye their hair blonde, this may be a treasure trove for yr next goth night. If you are pre-disposed to like this style of music, it may help you to listen deeper and find the merits. First of all, the production on this record just slays! The beats are tight and punchy, and will probably sound amazing in those strobe lit warehouses. The synths are warm and full-bodied; everything is levelled and mastered to glimmering perfection. As dance music, its a 9.5 out of 10. The lyrics are occasionally cringe-worthy, like the line 'We are from a bloodline/lost in times of chaos,' which reads like an outtake from an Underworld movie. Or 'I want to be the weekend warrior for you,' from 'City,' which sounds almost exactly like Maynard Keenan's cyberpunk pimp shaman persona in Puscifer.You most likely have heard something like this before; Legend is more interested in mastering the style than forging ahead. The record gains strength as it goes along, and as you get sucked into the drama, the vocals start to gel with the rest of the music, making a more fully realized package.
Reading other reviews of this record, it is clear that it has a polarizing effect on listeners, sometimes contradictory. One reviewer claimed that Fearless was 'Dark as in heavy gothic shades of decaying grandeur dark,' whereas another reviewer claimed 'Speaking of darkness, it's actually a mood that Fearless largely avoids, and I think it's a stronger LP for that.' I chalk it up to someone's opinion on goth/industrial style going in, but i would like to ask the listener to try a little harder. As someone who hears vast continents of electronic music on a daily basis, it is clear that Legend are brilliant producers, and i could imagine Fearless' nocturnal reverie scoring many neon-lit night drives and sweaty ecstacies. Its got some of the fiercest, smoothest, sexiest low-end on record this year. The synths are innovative and unique, which is one of the hardest battles to win in this 'in-the-box' day of digital production. The occasionally cheesy lyrics are about the only detractor, to be honest, they are clumsy and obvious, when a more subtle metaphor might be more suitable. Legend are epic and passionate; Fearless is a modern re-imagining of Teutonic giants and elder gods, transplanted to glittering streets of polished chrome and broken glass.
Apparently Iceland has never had much of a goth/darkwave scene, so Legend are to be applauded for importing the style and doing something different. With bands like Raime and Regis and Brooklyn's Rosenkopf revitalizing the hard-hitting, black lit club groove, Legend may find their place in the global spotlight. They should keep doing what they are doing, and perhaps read a few volumes of poetry in the meantime.