Eternal Legacy flyer

Date: 7/1/2007
Where: Parma, OH
Venue: The Jigsaw Saloon

Bands of Note:

Headliner: Eternal Legacy

Necessary Evil


Lick the Blade

I'll be up front when I say that this review is going to be just a little biased. Eternal Legacy is both a local band and one that I am friends with the members in. That aside, as a metal critic, I can tell you that my views herein are only slightly inflated and not just one of a fanboy. I encourage anyone to listen to their The
Coming of the Tempest album if you have any doubts of my partialness. Legal disclaimers and red tape aside, the review:

For those of you not in the know, Eternal Legacy is a talented local power metal band signed to Auburn Records who were putting out their first record at this concert. Band aside, I'll  start by saying I was not terribly impressed with the professionalism of the venue. I arrived at around 7:30, a half hour after the advertised 'doors open' time only to find that the doors were still locked and the bands were getting ready still. I entered the bar portion and spoke to a worker who had said that the doors should be open or would be very soon. A half hour later I walked in to the former bowling alley. I had to then wait another 45 minutes before the first band actually hit the stage. Luckily, I was able to buy a t-shirt, CD, and talk to and get the CD signed by the band members of Eternal Legacy who were walking around and interacting with the crowd.

My view of Necessary Evil and Lick the Blade might be a little skewed; I was here to see Eternal Legacy and to a lesser degree, Mindtraveler. As such, I sat down for both of the other aforementioned bands. I can't fairly judge their presentation and crowd interaction because of this, but sonically, both bands seemed like very cliché power metal bands with either Bruce Dickinson (in Necessary Evil's case) or Warrel Dane-esque (Lick the Blade) vocal antics. Lick the Blade had a few cool harmonies but blatantly stole riffs from Iron Maiden, and by blatantly, I mean copy and pasted.

Mindtraveler has been a band that I had dug ever since I saw them with Eternal Legacy and Sonata Arctica. I was hooked as soon as I heard them cover "My Own Savior" by Iced Earth. (As a side note, I played drums briefly for the band in prepartion for the show, ultimately to have things fall through.) Having changed from a three-piece by adding a second guitar last minute, Mindtraveler lost part of

Jason Vanek of Eternal Legacy

what I viewed as their 'power trio' appeal that made them unique. As is the case with most low-end venues, the bass drum sound was very splashy and the vocals were not very distinct in the mix. The guitar tone, however, was quite good, especially with two guitarists now. Presentation-wise, no one really moved around much. Having a bassist and lead guitarist who both sing makes it difficult to be very active, so that is forgivable. The new guitarist could shred (as was evident by his red Ibanez RG - a default choice for most virtuosos it would seem), but seemed almost ashamed to be in the band, often standing off to the side or looking around. The final "Iced Earth death medley" would've been better if the bass drums and vocals were more clear, as they are an integral part of the selections they chose, but I can't help but have a

soft spot for any band who covers Iced Earth.

After a cheesy intro by an Auburn Records rep, Eternal Legacy came on to smoke machines and an ambient, eerie stage music. The band opened with "Time Out of Mind" -  a real energetic crowd pleaser of a song. It was unfortunate, however, that despite the band's technical proficiency, the house sound engineers initially fucked up their sound. It was literally impossible to hear the bass drums as well as Shaun Vanek's guitar. As well, the first song was plagued by an incessant buzzing, presumably from Spencer Phillip's keyboard. Problems alleviated slowly, and by the third song, the mix sounded rather good.

The band's stage show, while perhaps overshadowed by their musical ability was nothing to scoff at. Despite technically being the 'frontman' in that he played guitar and sang, Jason Vanek did very little talking to the crowd, preferring to let brother Shaun get the fans fired up. Both on stage and on the mic., the charismatic younger Vanek got the crowd into the band's set by moving around, head banging, and asking if the crowd was "tired yet?" Taking nothing away from Jason, his vocal performance was impeccable. He constantly got the crowd energized by his facial expressions, hand motions and just a general aura of badassedness emanating from his stare. Bassist Josh Gatka added to the charisma with his signature 'over-under' bass tapping and high-fiving of the crowd.

Musically, the band was untouchable. Without a doubt, Shaun stole the show with his technical solos and flashy licks. The crowd ate up the sweeps, arpeggios, and tapping; fans' hands were constantly fluttering near Shaun's guitar, trying to emulate the virtuoso's display of fretwork. Drummer Steve Dukuslow subtlety threw in all manner of proggy, off-time fills and beats, often different than the album version of the particular song. It was obvious he had stepped up his game with his array of time changes and feels, albeit a bit unnecessary at times. On the vocal front, Jason's voice oozed emotion and, to a novice's ears, hit all the expected pitches. Everywhere else, the band was on time, on key, and just generally tight.

Shaun Vanek of Eternal Legacy

The last four songs of the set marked a slight shifting of style from the more epic, power metal sound to a more straight up heavy metal and occasionally thrash feel. Jason set down his guitar, Josh swapped his bass for a six-string, and Spencer ditched the keyboards for Josh's bass. Prior to the show, Eternal Legacy had posted a poll on their MySpace, asking the fans what song they would like to hear. As it turned out, "Carry on My Wayward Son" by Kansas won out by one vote over Metallica's "Creeping Death". In this configuration, the band started off with the aforementioned Kansas cover; somewhat of an oddity for a band with such an aggressive sound. With his newly switched-in Ibanez Iceman, Shaun Vanek and the rest of Eternal Legacy did the song justice. Jason Vanek hit every note and got the crowd into it by allowing them to sing along into the mic. Though not marketedly different than the original in terms of arrangement, 'Legacy's rendition had a distinctively more contemporary, riffy feel yet every bit as soulful as the original.

Picking up the pace, the band continued with two more thrash-influenced songs in "Metal Anvil" and "Shadow of Revolution"; two standbys from the band's pre-Legacy, Mercinary days. These two songs were, in my opinion, the strongest of the set. The crowd went wild with a pit opening up center floor. Capitalizing on the energy created by those two thrashers, Eternal Legacy played the cover everyone really wanted to hear and ended the night with a muscular rendition of Metallica's "Creeping Death". At this point the crowd was going nuts with the mosh pit going strong and everyone chanting "Die!" along with Jason Vanek. The song was a perfect way to conclude on a high note on the rest of their equally impressive set

Rating: ●●●