Still Screaming

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Latter-day reunions of historic rock bands are nothing new these days, but not even the most optimistic of fans probably ever expected Jersey, England's Legend, one of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's most obscure treasures, to rise from the ashes of their demise 20 years earlier in order to give it one more chance in 2003. But this is exactly what happened, and stubbornly unforgiving cynics aside, it's hard not to admire what these perennial underdogs have come up with on their comeback album, Still Screaming. Though hardly a masterpiece likely to catapult Legend to mainstream success, Still Screaming's remarkably strong material largely achieves the daunting task of staying true to the metallic old-school while making way for contemporary sonic standards and discreetly observing new millennium trends. Opening track "I'm Not Angry" and a number of follow-up songs like "Born in Chaos" and "Maybe This Time" utilize overly synthetic drum sounds and flirt with circular guitar figures reminiscent of modern nĂ¼-metal, but their overall stylistic imprint is clearly informed by NWOBHM hallmarks through and through (including competent but unembellished vocals singing repetitive but effective choruses). And no amount of time seems capable of dulling guitarist Peter Haworth's stellar riff-work and distinctive, fluid soloing, which spark album standouts such as "Take a Man," the infectious quasi-single "Generations Underground," and the career highlight "Eden Massacre." The band's chief architect, he obviously relishes the opportunity to emerge from the decades-long position of Legend estate curator to assume his rightful place in front of the Marshall stacks. Like his bandmates, he no longer has the benefit of youthful inexperience to explain away Still Screaming's less convincing moments, but give them all credit for having the balls to strap their guitars on once again and record an album which certainly does their legacy proud.

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