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SPIRIT

Legend

Neo-Prog


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Legend Spirit album cover
4.03 | 75 ratings | 6 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Leap Of Faith
2. Wood For The Trees
3. A Tangled Skein
4. Crossing Of The Ways
5. State Of Grace


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Beck Sian - vocals
Steve Paine - keyboards & bass
Paul Thomson - electric & acoustic guitars
John Macklin - drums & percussion

Releases information

In some respects 'Spirit' is a natural evolution from the critically acclaimed 'Cardinal Points' in that it retains a theme throughout its five songs. However sonically Legend have moved on again, this album is harder with a distinctly metal edge to many of the songs and the vocal range and articulation of Beck Sian's vocals add a hitherto unexpected dimension to the music. And if that is not enough the album also features some Choral Sections to add yet more depth to the already epic sound.

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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LEGEND Spirit ratings distribution


4.03
(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
26%
Good, but non-essential (37%)
37%
Collectors/fans only (17%)
17%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

LEGEND Spirit reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars Legend is a band in constant progression, defining their unique sound with every release. I really enjoyed Cardinal Points, one of the finest prog discs in my special collection. With 'Spirit', the band has returned with an effort that once again challenges the listener to new heights of appreciation. I immediately noticed a few personnel changes with bassist Dan Nelson, Mr. So & So guitarist Dave Foster and Kerry Parker being replaced by the returning maestro Paul Thomson and new lung Beck Sian, who has a hurricane of a voice and owner of a solid solo career in the UK, 'imagine a very acoustic Kate Bush meets Loreena McKennitt with just a hint of Bjork / Tori Amos'. As you know, I am a sucker for female vocals, currently in love with Resonaxis' Brooke Shelley, so keeping the Legend tradition was a blessing with the introduction of such an amazing voice. '..Good show!

Well, 'Leap of Faith' is just that, my goodness, their sound has definitely evolved into edgier contrasts between the sonic extremes, though a harder edge is matter of opinion as Paul is just as explosive an axe man as before but Macklin's drumming is really heavier than ever, propelling at breakneck speed. I really love the choir work, giving it an almost Zeuhl tinge, recalling Magma or Italians Universal Totem Orchestra. Zippy synths are really cool and Steve Paine handles the bass too with sterling solidity. The chorus is a memorable addiction, a sensational track, by all accounts.

'Wood of Trees' has some dazzling synth/guitar/bass/drum tightness, brash aura of the typical Legend sound which I like to refer to as 'druid-prog' , I hope you do not mind, I don't like labels too much but this one is a propos. Paul rips off some tortured solos, sounding at times like buzz saw, the man is impressive indeed! Love this track, dramatic, bombastic and enthralling! One thing I noticed is how in tuned Paine is with Thomson, paralleling notes from the warm synths with his guitar licks. To quote Steve Paine: 'Paul and I have always worked very well together, not just musically but in other areas as well. When I initially formed LEGEND back 1988 ' yup we're 25 years old ' we discovered that our lead styles instinctively blended, plus I feel Paul has a better ear for other instruments than many Guitarists, which means that we can share the foil of the sound with tones that complement one another, rather than it ending up a fight between Guitars and Keys for prominence'. Stunning saturated Hammond organ and highly effected guitar buzzes stuff this amazing track!

The 18 minute monster 'A Tangled Skein' starts out with sheer loveliness, dexterous guitar, slippery synth, booming bass and Beck's theatrical voice, she certainly has different tinges to her tone. Here she sounds tougher, manlier and perhaps even Wagnerian in a way. One has the impression that the wind of Valhalla is blowing hard and fast. Five minutes in, Beck does her Kate Bush performance, screeching higher than the celestial arrow can reach, the harsh heavy metal drumming (double bass) is cataclysmic. The Magma tendency is there again, dense choirs and Orff-ian gusto! Obviously Paul enters the fray with subtlety and restraint, just waiting to explode into a fireball of sparkling riffs, the synthesizers creating nasty sounds verging on the gruesome. There are even times when the organ has an Ange- like spectral howl, dark, menacing and brooding. Have you been listening to French prog lately, Steve? The chanting style again refers back to the Legend druid style, 'To recreate the ritual / primal atmosphere of Tribal / Pagan Ceremony' very apparent in the closing chapter, giving one a sense of stunned hypnosis (just like the numbness following a classic Hawkwind concert).

'Crossing the Ways' is the proprietor of the one thing I adore the most about music , a simple bass-driven melody that strikes at the soul and delivers a myriad of sensations and spirits. Throw in a beautiful vocal and the enchantment begins, within a lush and desperate chorus to die for. This is not only my favorite song on the album but perhaps within the Legend catalogue. I would go so far as to state that it is a prog-ballad for the ages, as delightful as the Windmill's recent 'Not Alone' masterpiece. If this does not achieve international fame, the world is truly the unjust entity it brashly claims not to be! The suave guitar lines are sumptuous reminders that gorgeous music will always inspire the deepest emotions. Beck's delivery is simply stellar, urgent and eternal. What a song, phew! My knees are still shaking and my jaw just rolled under the desk, lying smiling between Internet and TV cables!

'State of Grace' welcomes the ornate beauty of the piano, gentle yet forceful as only it can generate the true essence of harmony and grace. The structure is pretty upfront and vocally dynamic, loaded with mounds of synthesized orchestrations, celestial choirs, tubular bells, a crunchy guitar attack and robotic drumming. Sian's voice again seeks to crown the arrangement with some high-pitched magic and she does so with convincing authority, hitting those impossibly high notes with deadly accuracy.

A vibrant, thunderous and highly evocative release that should create quite a buzz in the prog community. Steve Paine is to be commended for his artistic vision and his ongoing commitment to creating authentic progressive masterpieces. The artwork is again top- notch, full of mystic gleam and spectral shine.

5 life-forces

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#1058918) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars "Oh it is a tangled skein that we do weave"

Legend has done it once again! Coinciding with band's 25th anniversary, they here return with yet another brilliant album in Spirit. I had the great honour to get a copy straight from the band in advance of the official release date and the music of Spirit has been playing frequently in my headphones and speakers since I received it. Another Legend masterpiece revealed itself and the five tracks of Spirit are nothing short of stunning!

One thing to note is the change in the vocal department. Kerry Parker, who replaced the original voice of Debbie Chapman for the previous Cardinal Points, is here replaced by Beck Sian. It is remarkable both how well the band has lived through (and gained from) every one of these changes and also how fantastic all three singers are in their own right. Most bands are not so lucky as to find one great vocalist, but Legend has found no less than three. Sian has an amazing voice that fits the music of Legend hand in glove. She has a distinctive voice and an identity all of her own, yet at the same time she sounds similar enough to previous Legend vocalists to carry on the legacy with grace. It would be very exciting to hear how she handles the older material.

Another line-up change consists in the return of original guitarist Paul Thomson who was absent from Cardinal Points. Drummer John Macklin and keyboard player Steve Paine remain stable (with the latter also producing and engineering the album). The musicianship is excellent throughout with dense layers of various keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums and percussion, lead vocals, and dramatic choirs. The hour long album is bursting with creativity and there isn't a dull second on the disc. The style is Legend's own and will clearly be recognized by anyone who is familiar with the band's previous efforts. But Spirit is more than a mere continuation of earlier albums, it sees the band evolving towards ever greater heights.

The mood is dark yet optimistic which is nicely captured in visual form in the great art work credited to Josephine Wall. The world depicted on the sleeve has many dimensions just like the music of Spirit. The clever lyrics are of equally high quality and revolve around a theme of "spiritual" and existential matters like "finding ones true path" in life (at least that's one interpretation; great lyrics always leave room for interpretation).

If you appreciate Legend's earlier albums, do by no means miss out on this one. If you don't yet know this unfairly overlooked band, take a "leap of faith" and acquire Spirit. (And then, if you're anything like me, you're inevitably going to want to get all of the band's other albums as well--all five of them are excellent additions.)

Very highly recommended!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1065769) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars I probably need to put some sort of disclaimer at the top of this review, as I have been involved with these guys one way or another for some twenty years now, and keyboard player/composer/band leader Steve Paine is one of my closest friends from the music scene. A few months ago he sent me a mix of this album and asked me for my views and opinions before he undertook the final mix as he was looking for a fresh set of ears. Listening to the album for pure production as opposed to trying to formulate ideas on the music was an interesting challenge, but I played my part as best as I could, and in the fullness of time the final product arrived and this time I could listen to it as it was intended.

When the band reformed for 'Cardinal Points' it was quite a different line-up from the one that recorded 1996's 'Triple Aspect' (well it was fifteen years between the two). Steve Paine was there of course, as was drummer John Macklin who had been involved since 'Second Sight', but original singer Kerry Parker (who left the band before they recorded their debut 'Light In Extension' in 1991) had returned instead of Debbie Chapman, and there was a new bassist in Dan Nelson and new guitarist in Dave Foster. Dave of course is guitarist with Mr So & So, a band that was originally signed to Steve's Pagan Media label. Well, that was 2011, and now here we are in 2013 with more changes, which actually makes the band more like the original. Anyone who has ever seen Legend in concert, or has seen the cover of 'Playing With Fire', will know that while Dave is one of the most incredible guitarists you will ever find (I have a memory of him holding a conversation with John Wetton's manager while playing an incredible solo at the same time) the one person who should be there is the original metal god himself, Paul Thomson. And he's back. His interplay with Steve and connection only comes about from many hours spent sharing the same stage, and many years sharing the same musical dream so it is great that he is onboard once again. Then, we also now have a new singer in Beck Sian (who apparently is Kate Bush's cousin). Apart from having extremely positive impact of reducing the average age of the band, she has also brought with her a new depth and vitality as she not only has a powerful voice, but an incredible range. Although she often reaches into soprano, she also has a firm control of alto so while at times she comes across as a mix of Debbie, Talis Kimberley and Anna Ryder she also belts it out in the lower registers. Macca is back again, while Steve provides bass as well as keys.

So what of the album? I have seen a few reviews of this album that have stated that in many ways this is a logical progression from 'Cardinal Points', but I'm not sure that I agree with them. In many ways this feels to me that it has much more in common with the earlier period, especially 'LIE', but taken to a whole new level. It is more complex, more layered, with Paul relishing the opportunity to yet again provide crunching riffs that take the music further. Although they are definitely more progressive than symphonic, these guys use Paul's heaviness to move them more into that arena while multi-tracked vocals also provides additional edge. Macca shows no sign at all of the RSI that he has been suffering, and is never content to sit on a 4/4 beat but instead really works the kit, providing a level of intensity that the rest of the band have to lift themselves to match. He can often be found matching the complex arrangements note for note, emphasising the melody. Steve is, well, Steve. His songs and arrangements are distinctive, they just couldn't be by anyone else. One of my favourite songs is "The Wild Hunt" from 'Second Sight', and there is quite a lot on this album that reminds me of that approach, and that can only be a great thing in my book.

So after saying all that about the music, it would not be the same without a great singer at the front and in Beck they have a real find. She can be clear and fine, she can be powerful, she can throw her voice around as if it is another instrument, be contrary to the melody or absolutely bang on. She is an incredible talent, and the combination of her vocal style, wonderful songs, and great musicianship, has made this a more than worthy addition to Legend's canon. In fact, it may well be their finest hour. But I will have to live with it for a few more years yet before I can confirm that.

This is an album of incredible depth and passion, and the five songs (the album is just over an hour long) pass by far too quickly. A real triumph. www.stevepaine.org

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1079490) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review by Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
4 stars Legend is a band that sounds like nothing else out there. Seriously. I can't think of even one band. They've been making music for over 20 years now, and they are still relevant. That is something that most bands cannot boast, especially neo-prog bands. Therefore, Legend's new album "Spirit" is great experience through and through.

Where to start? Well, Legend are a female-fronted prog rock band. Beck Sian, the vocalist, has a beautiful voice that borders on theatrical, but she never gets pretentiously long- winded. In fact, she has a huge range, and has a sweet spot for beautiful, melodious sustains. I quite love her voice.

The music side of things is equally interesting. This album features plenty of choir arrangements. This really challenged me for some reason, even though I generally love choirs. However, it just seemed new in an environment of spacey synth solos, organs, and thundering, hard-edged guitar lines. Indeed, Legend is a bit of an anomaly. Somehow, they play a rather technical form of neo-prog with blistering guitar lines and solos, blast beats, and wild organ passages; but they never feel "heavy". Yes, this album is lush and feels very "full". The keys only add to the effect with their variety and their spaciness. They create atmosphere for the choirs at times, and other times they really lead the music effortlessly.

Every single track here has special moments and wonderfully catchy choruses. "Leap of Faith" is a long opener that has a gorgeous ascending chorus and simply awesome instrumental passages. Beck amazes me time and again, though, with her awesome range. "Wood for the Trees" showcases this with some very low vocal passages that she pulls off easily. I think, however, my favorite track is "Crossing of the Ways". The keys are ghostly and almost foreboding, and the slow pace is just perfect. Beck sings alone on this one, and I feel that she expresses her vulnerability and emotion so masterfully. To end it off, there is an awesome guitar solo that simply wows.

Legend have really crafted a humdinger here. Yes, I just used that word. It's the kind of music that forces you to stop and pay attention, as it is unique and extremely pleasing. "Spirit" has a nice balance of just about everything, and I feel that this is the sign of true masters of their craft.

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1086161) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 05, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars What a Spirit! Bull's eye! Having kept their major concept - musical incarnation of ancient legends, they took winning combination: Symphonic Metal + Symphonic Prog with soprano vocal, which fits to their ideas perfectly - nothing to do with so-called Neo. Think Within Temptation met Renaissa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1186783) | Posted by toilet_doctor | Friday, June 06, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Having really liked their album "Cardinal Points" from 2011, I was really interested to hear what the band had come up with on their new album, "Spirit". Now, after listening several times, I must say that musically it is quite good. The compositions are strong(although not as strong as Cardinal Poi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1074174) | Posted by emperorken | Friday, November 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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