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Legend - Light In Extension CD (album) cover





3.01 | 17 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Pipes of Legend

Light In Extension was Legend's debut album and even though it was released in 1991, the band had been around since a while back into the 80's. They did, as far as I know, find some success in mainland Europe and particularly in Japan, but sadly not so much in their British homeland. They even planned to tour Japan in the wake of this album (if I'm correctly informed), but the tour never materialized. Instead they recorded a live video to please their Japanese fans (this live video is rumored to be re-released on DVD this year as well as a live CD of the same recording!).

Legend are here listed as Neo-Prog which is probably the best place to put them, but one should not be led to think that they sound like those typical British Neo-Prog bands of the 80's. They may look somewhat like a Metal band, but their music tells a different story. Legend combines a folky and symphonic approach with a somewhat (light) Metal-ish sound. Bands like Rainbow (the Dio-era) might come to mind. The exceptional female vocals make you think of Renaissance and perhaps even Steeleye Span. But Legend's music is much harder edged and darker than that of those bands. Legend's music is primarily based on metallic guitars, bass and modern keyboards with a powerful Rock rhythm section and operatic female vocals. Debbie Chapman has an impressive voice that appeals to me more than most female singers!

The songs are strongly melodic and catchy. But they do not make the mistake so common to melodic Rock, namely to put too much emphasis on the choruses and have too "obvious" choruses in the songs. The verses and the instrumental breaks and solos are at least equally important and powerful. While there are no instruments over and above the "standard" keyboard-guitar-vocal-bass-drums- line up, they use this limited palette very well to express different moods and atmospheres. The music has an intriguing folky and slightly Celtic feel. The music of Legend is by no means "groundbreaking", but I think that they indeed have a sound of their own.

The mostly modern keyboards are well played by Steve Paine who apparently is the founder and leader of the band. However, the keyboard sounds used are not incredibly varied and consist of modern synthesisers, some piano and organ. The guitars are also very well played and there are many instrumental passages with great guitar and keyboard work on display. The guitar sound is clean and razor.

Some Prog fans might not be wholly satisfied with the "progressiveness" of the music on Light In Extension, but some songs are obviously progressive. This applies more than not to the longer songs with the exception of the title track. But that song has other qualities, primarily that it sounds classic (not in the sense that it sounds old, but in the sense that it sounds timeless) and remains enjoyable after many repeated listens. Indeed, the whole album lends itself well to repeated listens; I have heard it on repeat for most of the day and it grows on me rather than tires me. The longest, and perhaps most progressive, song is Windsong, which is also the song with the strongest Folk influences.

Light In Extension might not be as good as the other two albums by Legend, but it has many of the same qualities. I may be in a minority (?), but I think that this band is very underrated. This album was not easy to find and it was very expensive, but worth every penny!

All three Legend albums are consistently enjoyable and highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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