Welsh band Magenta have been making music for nearly two decades, creating some of the most melodically and meaningful prog music around. At the band's helm is Rob Reed, who, as a composer, arranger and producer, is a perfectionist and each of their albums excels as a result.
Like the other albums, the subject-matter for We Are Legend is brand new territory, its different themes offering new landscapes in which the band members can exercise their considerable talents and artistry.
There's a very different vibe to this album starting with the cover depicting three unsmiling figures in a desert landscape but if you open it up, you may notice prog's iconic building Battersea Power Station in the distance that offers a tantalising clue to the tone of the music.
Sequenced in classic LP mode, the mighty, majestic Trojan, which runs to nearly 26 minutes, begins with an epic journey full of gorgeous aural dynamics, its story based on robots conquering the earth. However, thanks to the subtle lyrics by Steven Reed, you are never fully aware of this AI takeover. Instead, Christina Booth engages in Yes-like vocal phasing to convey the story. Add to that some chord sequences reminiscent of Yes and Chris Fry's gorgeous guitar, which effortlessly channels David Gilmour at his bluesy best. Towards the end, there's a full-on pastiche of Pink Floyd's Time, complete with roto-toms intro, that is quickly followed by more Yes chord sequences.
However, Magenta totally own their unique sound and it's wonderful to hear them drawing on the classics to further enrich their music.
The tinkling musical box intro of Colours transports us into the world of Vincent Van Gogh and his inner demons which he transforms into his exquisite artistic visions. The track has a waltz-like movement flowing through it and Booth delivers the lyrics with an urgency and passion, while Fry again channels some Gilmour in his stylish playing.
Legend is as enigmatic as it is lovely. It has an almost trance-like quality but the storyline is about the zombification of the planet, based on The Omega Man/I Am Legend films from where the album derives its title. Booth's shimmering voice reigns supreme, especially with the recurring line of “It's over”, which banishes the human race to its demise.
It's another stunning album as the band continues to reach even higher levels of sophistication and maturity. However, I am still not quite sure about those robot/zombie storylines!
**** Alison Reijman
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