Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Any true heavy metal connoisseur will tell you how important and essential Legend's sole album "From The Fjords" remains to this day. By fusing progressive rock and proto-heavy metal influences together, Kevin Nugent would involuntarily create the blue-print of Epic Heavy Metal with From The Fjords. His legacy is eternal, which is why we need to talk about his other work too. Yes, we should indeed discuss the works of MERCENARY. Mercenary are in my opinion, an overlooked and criminally band that I rank AS HIGH as Legend solely based on musical quality and memorability. Yes, you read that right. If you are a fan of LEGEND's sole album "From The Fjords", or Progressive Rock in general, then you must listen to Mercenary. For a little bit of background info : Mercenary was originally created by Kevin Nugent in the New Haven, Connecticut area in the early 80s. The band had success in New England throughout the 80s up until Kevin Nugent's death. Songs featured on "Tribute" were originally demos that were then re-worked to be finished after the death of Nugent as a tribute, hence the name of the cassette released. Only about 500-1000 were released featuring tracks such as Return Flight, Mercenary, Horizons Change, and Final Dream. As for the other members of the band, John V. Capoccitti is an opera-trained vocalist with a 3 1/2 octave vocal range. He has also been in New England bands such as Wicked Truth. Steven Negri was a child prodigy, playing violin at Carnegie Hall as early as age 5. Also a notable fact : This release features Fred Melillo whom also played on Legend's album. A fantastic bass player who we should also not overlook. Do I need to go on a this point?
I have posted the full demo on my youtube channel below : Listen and learn to appreciate the hard work put behind these compositions, for they are as timeless as Legend's From The Fjords. These 4 songs fuse the same elements that made Legend so great, but with even more overt progressive and melodic elements. The synth work provided by Stevin Negri offers a notable contrast to From The Fjords, but they do not feel cheap of out of place. The greatly elevate the compositions to a new level, while at the same time giving Mercenary its own identity rather than just making the band a repetition of the past. Today, we remember and honor the legacy of yet another musician that died too soon at the age of 26. Rest in peace Kevin.
Written by Phil Tougas // The Vault
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