The songs presented here in LEGEND are indeed legends from Sleepy Hollow's 11-year career. This double album contains the first song ever written by the band (the backing music of which was used to audition the guitarist), songs being written by Joe and Mole before joining the band, songs written during various acoustic and electric formations of the band, and new material worked up during the recording. Previous albums were recorded with various limitations: the EP was just a sampler to get the word out, "Goin' Over" was made up of the simple organ/electric-guitar based songs the band was playing at their club gigs (where they didn't have time nor space for pianos, acoustic guitars, and other frills), and "The Lazarus Project" was a heavy metal oriented distillation of the recording sessions for LEGEND. But, here, we finally get the full flowering of the band's musical ambitions, limited only by the band's choice of what they consider their best music.
There's a wide variety of music on this 2-CD set. There are short, gentle, lovely piano and flute based songs and instrumentals reminiscent of classical music (or even the better new age music such as George Winston). There's the haunting, epic, 10-minute classical guitar/pipe organ/percussion "The Wanderer" which may call to mind early Genesis. "Unselfconcious" is more in the vein of a Tori Amos piano song, with building instrumentation going from electric piano to heavy rock, and a wonderful orchestrated section. On the other hand, "Armageddon" and "Troubled Times" are high energy heavy metal. The classic acoustic-into-heavy song structure gets a new twist in "The Soldier's Lament" (where the acoustic part is based around Irish harp instead of acoustic guitar) and "La Femme Arme" - which starts with medieval harmony vocals, segues into contrapuntal flutes over classical guitar, then takes off into classic metal with female vocals reminiscent of Nightwish and a psychedelic keyboard solo in 10/8. "Nadia's Song" shows what the "unplugged" movement could've done by providing a speed-metal song based around piano and classical guitar (with a lovely violin coda and multifaceted female vocals). "Sorrow's Might" is a traditional folk song arrangement that moves between heavy metal and Pentangle-ish fingerpicked acoustic guitar segments, with a magical interlude for harp and oboe. "Aristotle's Lantern" is a jagged 7/8 prog-metal tune that ends in a four-part canon, before leading into the psychedelic free-form improv of "Hall of Mirrors" which harkens back to Pink Floyd and King Crimson's more avant-garde moments. Coupled with the music are thoughtful lyrics covering such topics as nature, hope, the afterlife, knowledge, and human insight. Overall, the music shows the craftmanship and ambition of true artists, but artists who are capable of both lovely moments and hard rocking!
Sleepy Hollow was formed in Lodi, NJ in 1999, with the quartet of Joe Dell (keys), Dan Castiel (bass, vocals), Frank Melick (drums, vocals), and Matt "the Mole" Schwarz (electric and acoustic guitars, flute, vocals, ). While the four members' love for classic heavy metal was a strong centerpiece of the group's sound, they were always interested in bringing different elements in, including jam music, classical, jazz, folk, etc. This, along with Joe's prominant and talented keyboard playing, gave the band a certain appeal to progressive rock afficianados. When the original rhythm section left a few years in, Joe and Mole soldiered on, as a trio with drummers Gary Rinaldi and Deve Guzman or as an acoustic duo. While the Mole also sidelined with folk and classical music (recording solo and group folk albums and even appearing on an orchestral recording), his and Joe's truest expression was in the creation of original music, so they've finally gathered the songs they've been proudest of as artists and recorded them here. .