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LEGEND

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Legend biography
LEGEND are a great neo/symph-prog band from Britain, driven by the keyboardist's Tony Banks-ish leads in tandem with straight-up metal grooves from the guitarist. This English four-piece band has been together since the late Eighties, making them one of the longest-lived pagan bands around. This band plays rock influenced by folk and classical elements, and prefers complex, epic song structures. All in all though it is an album well worth listening to, although I would advise starting with "Triple Aspect" first for the true taste of LEGEND at their best.

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LEGEND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LEGEND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.97 | 14 ratings
Light In Extension
1991
3.22 | 21 ratings
Second Sight
1993
3.73 | 18 ratings
Triple Aspect
1996
3.79 | 97 ratings
Cardinal Points
2011
4.05 | 98 ratings
Spirit
2013

LEGEND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.42 | 6 ratings
Playing With Fire
2010

LEGEND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LEGEND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Ritual Echo
2009

LEGEND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

LEGEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spirit by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 98 ratings

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Spirit
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by Modrigue
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!

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 Cardinal Points by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 97 ratings

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Cardinal Points
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

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...

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 Triple Aspect by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.73 | 18 ratings

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Triple Aspect
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A legend is born?

What an improvement compared to the first two albums! "Triple Aspect" is undoubtedly LEGEND's best studio opus of their first period, the 90's. The music and sound have greatly matured, the compositions become more complex and incorporates breaks and rhythm changes in the vein of RUSH and RENAISSANCE. While still "medieval hard neo-prog", the style is now heavier and rock-ier. One more time, Debbie Chapman's voice is quite enchanting and suits well the fairy tale ambiance. Let's hear what these modern minstrels brought back from their journey through this fantasy land.

The powerful opener "Cunning Man" is an epic metal piece that makes you want to raise your sword on a knight horse. "Holly King" is also a very nice energic song, with medieval and folk touches. The 12 minutes mini-epic "Lyonesse" is a bit uneven. Despite its pleasant slow fairy intro, the middle sung part is a bit boring and impersonal, sounding more like average neo-prog. The weakest track of the record. The haunting "All Hallows Eve" possess a pretty eerie opening and an oppressive atmosphere coherent with the witches dance theme.

Then comes the highlight of the disc, the 30 minutes mastodon title track! This epic suite can sometimes remind RUSH's "2112" in its construction and heavy prog style with synthesizers. All progressive elements you're looking for are present: changing rhythms, breaks, varied atmospheres, instruments soli... It also incorporates folk elements and sounds even a little futuristic by moments! Maybe some parts could have been shortened, but the overall result is very good and will transport you to another world of knights and sorcery...

More ambitious and united than the former opuses, "Triple Aspect" shows the band defining their own musical identity. Furthermore, this refreshing style is quite uncommon. One of LEGEND's best albums, and an essential listen for neo-prog or progressive folk fans!

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 Second Sight by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.22 | 21 ratings

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Second Sight
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 2.5 stars

Second album the british pagan prog rock band, "Second Sight" shows LEGEND's improvements in songwriting and sound. The compositions are now heavier, more complex, epic but still a bit unequal. The music can be described as a neo hard prog version of RENAISSANCE. However, it has less few folk elements than their other opuses.

The opener "Dance" is surprisingly the weakest song of the record. Despite its punchy riff and synthesizer typical of neo prog, this track is rather flat and fails to really lift off. "New Horizons" is more varied and pleasant. Then comes "The Healer", an average and little cheesy soft ballad. But don't leave now, the second half of the record is better.

The 13 minutes mini-epic "The Wild Hunt" is the highlight of the disc. Longest and most progressive song, it features rhythm changes, various soli, and alternates slow and nervous moments. "The Legend" is the other catchy epic moment, displaying a soundscape of castles and knights. On the contrary, not much to say about "I Close My Eyes", a sweet acoustic guitar driven piece neither good nor completely uninteresting. The ender "Mordred" is the other long composition of the record. It contains some good moments, but is a bit messy and not very coherent. Not as convincing as "The Wild Hunt".

"Second Sight" is an uneven but nonetheless promising second effort. Despite weaker songs, LEGEND refine more and more its personality here. After all, "medieval fantasy hard prog" is not really a widespread genre, the band is one of the few to propose such refreshing music. It just still require some more time to mature.

Don't worry, the next albums will be more inspired...

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 Spirit by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 98 ratings

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Spirit
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by toilet_doctor

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 Renaissance.

With such a new singer (Beck Sain) guys can do anything, because she is capable of anything: from deep lows to heavenly highs. And she delivers... especially impressive is multilayered (high and low) vocal thought-out the album, culminating in epic almost 14 min. song State of Grace, where it starts as a cappella, then adding bells sound and choruses - breathtaking touch. I have to confession to make: I cannot to get enough of her. 25 years of the search for right singer is over! Now, time to concentrate on the compositions... and they did.

All compositions are complex prog with tastefully blended in symphonic metal elements. At first, I thought song # 3 A Tangled Skein (over 18 min.) is a bit let down, but after I tried it couple times more, I changed my mind: it's different approach - quirky one, which bringing diversity in the album as a whole. I found tons of musical details in it, which I missed on a first place - great stuff. Last two songs Crossing of the Ways and State of Grace are simply Masterworks and deserved highest appreciations, as is amazing Artwork (Doorway to the Stars) by artist Josephine Wall, which is crying to be on the cardboard cover. Nevertheless, I want to thank producer Steve Paine for helping the band in many ways he did: music, lyric and good sound quality, bringing everything together and polishing it up.

Please, guys send your CD to independent Belle Antique Records in Japan. They love such a music a lot. I will be first to buy Japan 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition with exclusive bonus track in gorgeous exceptional print quality cover, as only Japanese can do or, more important, willing to do.

To all music lovers: please check out Song 4 Crossing of the Ways on youtube:

Doorway to 5 Stars.

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 Triple Aspect by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.73 | 18 ratings

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Triple Aspect
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ''Second Sight'' was the most succesful among the 90's albums of Legend regarding its sales and in 1994 the band's label Pagan Media organized a tour for the band along with label mates Inkubus Sukkubus.The following year Legend focused on writing material for a third album.They were as tight and confident as ever and the ideas came naturally, even if bassist Paul Thomson had to play both the bass and the guitars after the departure of bassist Martin Rouski.''Triple aspect'' eventually sees the light in 1996.

This confidence of the band resulted to ambitious and bombastic compositions, among them the 5-part title track was clocking at almost half an hour (!), showing that Steve Paine had become incredibly comfortable with the composing of long tracks.Soundwise this was definitely the most mature work of the first period of Legend, offering rich, powerful and intricate compositions in a style, which reaches as closer as it gets a genuine Epic Progressive Rock, borrowing elements from Neo Prog, Folk Rock and Heavy Rock.The shorter tracks contain plenty of fiery rhythms to go along with a very OLDFIELD-ian atmosphere, combining the sharp edges of early-80's British Prog Rock with the folkier yet cinematic touches of MIKE OLDFIELD's music and the result is a mix of pounding electric guitars, symphonic keyboards and Medieval-styled female singing.The 12-min. long ''Lyonesse'' points to a folkier direction, but Legend were never predictable.The music is close to the style of ARRAKEEN, delivering a bombastic Progressive Rock, swirling between dreamy vocal sections, Neo-styled nervous synth soloing, mascular electric guitar leads and a marching rhythm section.Some folky melodies are still apparent, but the dynamics in here are on a very high level.Fast-paced and very tight music.The extended title-track is the very best reason to call Legend an Epic Prog Rock band.The love of Paine for Classic Prog Rock comes particularly in evidence in this piece, which contains some of Legend's most complex time signatures and powerful breaks without the band losing for a second its own identity.A pompous combination of raw Neo Prog, Classic-styled Symphonic Rock and Heavy/Power Rock with constant use of keyboards, fantastic female vocals and Thomson's mature guitar work, both on his melodic solos or his flaming riffing.

If you ever get one album from Legend's early years, this is propably the one.Very different from any other group, this is passionate and highly energetic Progressive Rock played with originality despite the obvious references to monster bands of the past.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Spirit by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 98 ratings

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Spirit
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

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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 Spirit by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 98 ratings

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Spirit
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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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 Spirit by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 98 ratings

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Spirit
Legend Neo-Prog

Review by emperorken

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 Points), the arrangements are well done, and the playing is top notch. The music here, as it does on "Cardinal Points", has a somewhat dark feel to it.

The biggest difference(and drawback) to this new album is the vocals. The previous vocalists, Debbie Chapman and Kerry Parker, both had perfect voices for Legend's style of neo prog. The new vocalist, Beck Sian, has a huge range and sounds great in the lower ranges. But at times when she sings in the high ranges, her voice sounds like chalk on a blackboard to me.

Still, a pretty good album worthy of 4 stars for the music, and 3 stars overall.

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 Spirit by LEGEND album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 98 ratings

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Spirit
Legend Neo-Prog

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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