'Elements of Fire'

(CD Maximum)

MARK: 89/100


One of the first Russian bands, gone through obvious and cospicuous line-up settlements, Moscow's Legion are far from their sunset and glad to give us their new offering, their 8th studio album from their foundation year (1981). A mix of traditional Power metal with several melodic intrusions in a Helloween-meets-Diamond Head way, still based on topics such as fantasy and tales, but also love and philosophy.

This record is a concept all in Russian and is accompanied by a rich and brilliant cover artwork referred to constellations, stars and other cosmos components. Unfortunately there's no translation, but the translated titles help a little to have a pale idea of the sensations stirred up by the tracks. All of the songs were professionally recorded and they show a band able to compete with the most talented international competitors, even if the language barrier is an obstacle that will prevent them from meeting a high acclamation abroad in non-CIS countries.

When you listen to the opener "Knight of the Legion" and the title track, you realize that experience pays and that the lords come from the reign once ruled by czars do know how to write effective songs of majestic, melodic Power metal with wonderful vocals; Mr. Bulgakov is a singer who also had the honour to work with Aria (RUS), and such things always happen because of a precise reason, and this is already a steady warranty of quality. His vocals, sometimes almost operistical, always powerful and never too high, perfectly duet with the keyboards escapes, and touch the peak in the refrain of "Fantasy".
A radio classic is "Bird" for sure, lost in reverie and romantic, this is magic at its purest state like the following "Choice", closed by a remarkable 6-string solo.
Bucolic and contemporarily refined, "Night" will make even girls who say no to everybody fall in love, exploit it!
After the relaxing instrumental "Dawn", here comes the Power/Speed of "Mirrors", requiring the drummer more effort than usual, while the piano-based "Star", displays the breadth of the vocalist's whole range.
In the end "The Game", a bonus track taken from a single, sturdy, in the typical Legion style once again; it contains the best guitar solo and it's not a filler at all. Such kinds of tricks are not to be expected from rare gentlemen like the five aces from the Red Square.

It doesn't weigh at all the lack of originality of the songs, because the 5-piece's class, skill and the arranging level are so elevated to make you forget this detail immediately. The album grows listen after listen and strikes thanks to the right balance of different moods, spacing from relaxing songs to real crushers ready to provoke even the tiredest, least careful public and covering a large number of feelings. Were I the A&R of Nuclear Blast or Century Media, I'd have no brakes in proposing the Moscow masters a deal and investing a lot in their promotion, as they might have more chances to be widely appreciated in the West than Aria (despite the language). That said, every Power metaller with a respectable discography should own this masterpiece sooner or later.


Line-up on this record:
Aleksey Bulgakov - vocals (also in Arteria (Rus), ex-Aria (Rus))
Sergey Bokaryev - guitar
Stanislav Kozlov - bass
Sergey Yeranov - drums
Alexander Orlov - keyboards

E-mail: info@legion-group.ru
Official site: http://legion-group.ru/

Fan club: http://legion-fanclub.narod.ru/
Fan site: http://legion-music.by.ru/
Unofficial site: http://metall-knyaz.narod.ru/

Apocalypsis - Best of/Compilation, 1987
The Last Step - Demo, 1989
Knights Of Cross - Full-length, 1992
1980-1987 - Full-length, 1996
Day Mne Imya - Full-length, 1996
Lutche pesni - Full length, 1997
Prorochestvo - Full-length, 1999
U Okna (At the Window) - Full-length, 2000
The Quest for Avalon - Live album, 2001
Pendulum of Times - Demo, 2002
Pendulum Of Times - Full-length, 2003
The Game (Igra) - Single, 2004
Stitchisni Agnsì (Elements of Fire) - Full-length, 2004
Live in Moscow - Full-length, 2006