Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unicorn-The Legend Returns (2013 Expanded Re-Release)

Karthago Records

Karthago Records, home of heavy metal, has done it again. If ever there was a eighties metal release that deserved a expanded-edition, remastered re-release it was "The Legend Returns". Officially it was the only release for Germany's Unicorn and, in typical fashion, it ended up being sadly overlooked the first time when it was unleashed in 1987. With only 4-tracks the EP, which was released on E.M.S-Eastwood in what must have been a extremely limited amount*, original vinyl copies of "The Legend Returns" have became a highly sought-after collectors item. Truthfully the only way I heard this EP the first time around was thanks to a digital download, before a bootleg CD copy (released on Revenge Of True Metal Records as a split with Leader and Axton Pryte) came into my possession. This limited-edition re-release by Karthago Records (mine is number 48 of 500) is so much better sound-wise and quality-wise that it's not even a close comparison! And given the fact that this re-release (just like the re-release I previously covered of Headstone's debut album "Burning Ambition") comes packaged with a colored tray, 10(!) bonus tracks and an owners certificate of authenticity buying the CD is a real no-brainer!  Even if you do somehow have an original copy of this EP on vinyl I'd still pick this one up as it is beyond awesome! I mean, 10 bonus cuts have been added! 10! All of which makes this re-release from a (sadly) short-lived (1985-1987?) and (unfortunately) underrated heavy metal band all the more epic. The bonus cuts are:
"Fool Games" (Taken from "...late back" this is a nice little number that is a tad raw, but still overall enjoyable!)

"The Bards Tale – Gelidia" (Unreleased demo track that borders on epic metal all while showcasing a band that had so much more to offer!)

"Separation", "Goodbye", "Your Wildest Dreams" and "The Hunt" are all taken from "The Pleasure and the Pain" by the band Living Daylight. This was the band that Unicorn members Jürgen Henkelmann (vocals) and
Holger Carow (guitars)** formed some 10 years after Unicorn called it quits. All of these tracks are really good and yet it's the semi-ballad "Goodbye" that I like the best! Don't ask me why. It just is what it is. Weird I know. Of course I also love the near-power metal track "The Hunt". It is heavier and faster then the more traditional heavy metal that Unicorn rolled out on their lone EP, but it works and shows the extent that some of the members of Unicorn were capable of. 

"Mary Beth", "Stay", "Götterdämmerung" and "Cry of the Jackal" all come from "Lost Paradise" which was the second (and final) self-release from the post-Unicorn act Living Daylight. "Mary Beth" is fairly dark and features wonderful female vocals from guest Silvia Voss! "Stay" is a so-so cut, but the two closing numbers, "Götterdämmerung" and "Cry of the Jackal", are splendid and offer a look at what could have been for a band that was now  (as Living Daylight) pumping out quality Queensrÿche-like power metal! It seems as shame that Living Daylight, like Unicorn before it, was a band that didn't get more recognition. The post-Unicorn tracks are actually pretty cool and (realistically) outside of this collection chances are slim that I would have ever had a chance to hear them! So, kudos to Karthago Records for including them here on this re-release!

All in all this expanded re-release clocks in at over 72 minutes. While the booklet in a tad thin (more photos would have been nice) it's still a sweet re-release and it sounds great! As it was just released at the beginning of December one would have to think that there are still copies available, but I wouldn't wait too long to pick this up if you are a fan of the band or eighties heavy metal in general. Along with the Headstone album it would make for a wonderful gift for the heavy metal aficionado in your family. So if you are looking at the calender and finding yourself running out of time and stuck as to what to give that special (heavy metal fan) someone both the Unicorn and Headstone re-issues are recommended!
*Only 500 copies of the EP were pressed so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that this CD is strictly- limited to 500 copies as well!

**Unicorn also featured guitarist Michael Blaumeiser, bassist Günther Klein and drummer Manfred Klein

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!


3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

plz link?

2:33 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Anonymous-Sorry, this is a review-only site. The only time i link to album's is when they are free or otherwise simply not available other then via a (non-sanctioned)download. New releases such as this one should be paid for as it benefits the musicians who put their hard work into making great music for all to love and enjoy!

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Chicolati said...

The kartago Records no sale to my country. And now?

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Chicolati said...

Andy, I know the band need to sale. But I will not to share to nobody in web. I tried to buy this compilation, but this label does not sale to my country because the government do a high tax to imported products get in here. I am from Venezuela.

8:36 PM  

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