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Legend - Cardinal Points CD (album) cover





3.69 | 103 ratings

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3 stars Any element you like

Fifteen years after their previous opus, LEGEND finally reunited and composed their fourth studio album, "Cardinal Points". Founder keyboardist Steve Paine and drummer John Macklin are the only original band members. The new vocalist Kerry Parker sings in a lower key than Debby Chapman. The style remains roughly the same as on the first three records, fantasy hard neo-prog. However, the music tends to be more polite, less heroic and lively than on "Triple Aspect".

"Cardinal Points" is a reference to the number four and thus continues the tradition of LEGEND's concept albums based on chronological record order. For this opus, the tracks name represent the four primary elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Furthermore, each song incorporate its corresponding sonorities.

The opening of "Carved in Stone" is quite mystical with a didgeridoo and bird sounds. Then the ambiance alternates between folk and hard prog, with flute and guitar. There is also some nice keyboards playing. "Whisper on the Wind" is softer, and even spacey by moments. Maybe the most calm composition of the record, with acoustic instruments and dreamy atmosphere. Featuring guitar and synthesizer solos, it sometimes reminds OZRIC TENTACLES by moments. Although the middle part is a bit too long, this piece is overall pleasant.

As you may expect, "Spark to a Flame" is more aggressive and punchy. Again, this piece contains cool guitar and keyboard interventions. The melody is quite epic and lyrical. The only problems are the dated 80's electronic sonorities. "Drop in the Ocean" is the longest track of the disc. With its futuristic ambient introduction, relaxing passages and various instruments, this song is also the most progressive. Orchestral keyboard sounds, acoustic guitar and flute playing by guest musician Claire Foster make the music liquid and fluid, which suits well the title. The ending is smooth but nonetheless average.

"Cardinal Points" contains some weaker and lengthy passages, as well as cheesy sonorities. Less oriented towards knights and heroic fairy tales, tending to more consensual neo-prog, the band manages however to keep their own musical identity of "pagan hard neo-prog". This fourth studio opus is a bit uneven, but overall pleasant. Recommended to neo-prog lovers and even to folk-prog fans if they're not afraid of 80's synthesizers.

This a just the beginning of LEGEND's second life...

Modrigue | 3/5 |


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