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Legend - Spirit CD (album) cover





3.90 | 115 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Dark spirit

For LEGEND's 25th anniversary, the band released its fifth studio opus, "Spirit". The first thing that we can say is that Josephine Wall's artwork is just wonderful. Another important point to mention is the new vocalist Beck Sian, who replaces Kerry Parker. An inspired choice as her large range voice is quite similar to Kate Bush's and can be very theatrical at times. Furthermore, original guitarist Paul Thomson, who was absent from "Cardinal Points", has now reintegrated the band. For the first time, although composed of five songs, the title "Spirit" breaks the tradition of LEGEND's concept albums based on chronological record order. Once said, what about the music?

The style extends the own personal "pagan hard neo-prog" approach developed on the four previous records, however in a much darker and haunting atmosphere. Less folk, the music incorporates now more and more heavy and symphonic metal elements and goes back to epic compositions. This evolution shows Steve Paine and co. reaching new unexpected heights.

The opener "Leap of Faith" is simply bombastic. With its church organ and choir opening and raging guitars, this track really rocks! This beginning part sounds sometimes like THERION-meets-RUSH, while the middle part is softer. Then the beginning theme is reused and the ambiance become more oppressive, to finish with a heroic ending. Great! The only short song of the disc, "Wood for the Trees", is an epic heavy neo-prog little gem, with a powerful melody.

The 18 minutes "A Tangled Skein" is the longest composition of the album. Softer, the ambiance is sinister and haunting, like a witches dance. The ending sounds quite tribal with the percussions and the mystical flute. However, there are some repetitive passages. "Crossing of the Ways" is the only weak track of the record. Despite Beck Sian's excellent performance and its mysterious introduction, the melody is a bit boring and the light mood contrasts with the somber atmosphere of the disc. Back to epic knights tales with "State of Grace". This great ender has a delicate piano opening, that unveils a catchy rock song with raging guitars and rhythm changes. The style is in the vein of "Leap of Faith".

"Spirit" is clearly the darkest and most metallic LEGEND album to date. Most tracks displays a nightly pagan fantasy ambiance, the only fault being "Crossing of the Ways". The only other drawback is the dated 80's synthesizers sonorities, typical of the neo-prog genre. Apart from these small points, the compositions are very nice. The music is coherent with the cover art, the dark medieval forest theme is respected.

If you enjoyed the other LEGEND albums, you may be surprised at first listen but you surely won't be disappointed. "Spirit" marks an evolution for the band while keeping their own identity, and announces great things to come. Highly recommended to neo-prog, and even symphonic metal fans!

Modrigue | 4/5 |


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