Legend - Ritual Echo

(CD 2009, 70:57, NoFish NFCD1)

The tracks:
  1- Triple Aspect Overture(6:20)
  2- Dance(6:02)
  3- Windsong(8:22)
  4- Mordred(12:19)
  5- Holy King(7:48)
  6- The Chase(4:13)
  7- All Hallows Eve(6:23)
  8- The Wild Hunt(13:04)
  9- Light In Extension(6:26)

Legend Website        samples       

Why do certain bands have success in their career and others not? Thatís a question nobody can answer with any clear certainty. Take for example Legend from the UK. This band was founded in 1988 by keyboard player and producer, Steve Paine. This band had released three albums in the past - Light In Extension (1991), Second Sight (1993) and Triple Aspect (1996). Their music had in those days some references with bands such as Marillion, Jethro Tull, Rush, Yes, Solstice and Renaissance. The last two bands mainly because the lead vocals were also fronted by a female singer. The songs they wrote were also woven around mystical and pagan themes. They had moderate success in Japan and Europe but never made it in their own country, which is why they never became as big as Marillion, Yes, Rush or Jethro Tull. This is something which is difficult to explain. Perhaps a lack of a major record company or a good advertising campaign might have something to do with it. Sometimes you just have to be lucky as a band, and with the advent of the internet some artists and bands are getting that second chance. You donít have to be all that commercial or have a lot of money in your bank account to release high quality music. This is what Steve Paine and his band must have thought at the time, as heís decided to collect some songs from the past for a special release to give notice to the rest of the world that the band is still alive and ready to try it one more time.

So to celebrate 21 years of Legend the band released Ritual Echo in 2009. Itís as Paine says, an anthology of tracks from their Second Sight and Triple Aspect studio CDís, and live versions of 3 tracks from Light in Extension. All the tracks he gave a new mix and theyíve all been digitally re-mastered, and something you certainly pick up straight away because the sound is a much better quality.
Steve also wants you to know that you can hear Legend like youíve never heard them before...which is a bit difficult for anybody who never heard anything from them in the past. However he states that his band doesnít sound quite like any other. Thatís slightly true, I guess. They certainly blend folk, classical and rock influences into a sound that was obviously influenced by the prog greats of the 70ís and 80ís, as I mentioned above. Fine examples are the early Marillion influences on the tracks Holly King, All Hallowís Eye and Mordred. But the female vocals done by Debby Chapman move the music several times towards the style performed by bands such as Renaissance or Solstice. The drama and pathos which the band shows in their music was without any doubt inspired by the albums made by Genesis and Yes in the seventies. From time to time the heavy guitar parts played by Paul Thompson also gives them the link with a band such as Rush. Finally the folk influences reminded me mostly of the already mentioned JethroTull. Anybody who likes the music of the bands mentioned in this review should try to hear the music created by Legend. A live release will follow very soon with the title Playing With Fire. Itís from a recording made in 1992. A brand new album is also planned for 2010. Hopefully the listening public will give Cardinal Points all the success this band deserves.

*** Henri Strik (edited by Paul Watson)

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