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Legend - Cardinal Points CD (album) cover

CARDINAL POINTS

Legend

 

Neo-Prog

3.83 | 100 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Full points!

15 years after their previous studio album and some 20 years after their debut comes Legend's fourth studio effort, Cardinal Points. I was very excited to hear the new album by this excellent band so I downloaded the album from iTunes even though I had already pre- ordered the CD months earlier. I didn't mind paying for this music twice at all as I am thereby supporting an outstanding and much overlooked band. The physical CD eventually landed on my doorstep yesterday, but I have already been listening to the contents of the album now for several weeks and there is no sign of me losing interest in this brilliant music. On the contrary, it keeps growing on me with each new listen. I am always very careful about awarding the masterpiece rating, but after many listens over some time I am confident that this album has the necessary staying power. This is a brilliant piece of work indeed!

Work on this album begun already in the years following the previous album (i.e. during the second half of the 90's), but for various reasons the band was put on hold and Cardinal Points was not finalized until this year. Despite the fact that the brilliant vocalist Debbie Chapman has been replaced by one Kerry Parker for this release, Cardinal Points has all the trademarks of the previous Legend albums. Yet, it also sounds different and fresh. You will find some new influences among the old ones and I'm certain that this album will appeal to both the old fans and those who are new to the band. Indeed, though I personally think that the band's previous album, Triple Aspect, is equally impressive, the present album probably has a wider appeal among Prog fans and is thus an excellent point of entry to investigate the band.

The Neo-Prog tag is perhaps even less appropriate here than concerning the previous three albums and the sound is less metallic and more symphonic. The clean, hard-edged guitar sound and the brilliant electronic keyboards of band leader Steve Paine are still very much the backbone of the band's sound, but the bass guitar gets more space this time around which I like a lot. John Macklin's drumming is perhaps slightly less driving than previously, but very competent indeed. The Folk influences are still here and there are three guests adding flute, didgeridoo and exotic percussion respectively. There is an almost New-Age/World-Music feel to some parts, which I love. But Legend transcends such genre categorizations as Neo-Prog, Heavy Metal, Prog Folk, etc. - they have a unique sound all of their own.

Legend's second album was called Second Sight, their third album was called Triple Aspect and now their fourth album is based on the four points of the compass and the four elements - earth, wind, fire and water. (One can only speculate about if the next album will be related to the number five?). Cardinal Points consists of only four tracks each representing an element and a point of the compass. The longest track runs to some 17 minutes and the shortest to 13, but the whole album runs like one long piece only interrupted by some very atmospheric nature sounds between the songs. The lyrics are suitably mystical and fits the music perfectly.

All four studio albums by Legend are excellent, but the two most recent ones are both worthy of the highest rating, in my opinion. For me, Cardinal Points might be the best album of the new millenium and it is very highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 5/5 |

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