Because it is meant as a tribute to the late, great Edgar Froese, this album lets you fill out your Berlin School Bingo card rather quickly. It may not be here to offer anything new in the genre, but it’s rock-solid in its homage, packed to the brim with passion and power, and just a whole bunch of fun. With all the standard elements of the Berlin framework in place—thick. tangy sequencer lines and big, dramatic chords that land like meteor strikes—what really draws my ear here is the ass-kicking guitar work. Fiery lines, I will assume mostly from the project’s lead artist, Kuutana, light up the proceedings in almost every track. You get a nice taste of it in the opening track, but if you really want to get your fire on, head straight to “Escape Velocity.” Pure rock flair sparking against the rigid pulse of the sequencers. “Orbital Manuevers” with Midnight Airship latches onto a 70s rock groove, giving us breathy organ riffs to go with the guitar sounds. You’ll certainly catch a little whiff of Richard Wright hiding in the quieter passages. “Light Beyond the Abyss” finds a very smooth groove that builds off low-end sequencer pulses and locks in for an easy, laid-back ride. Kuutana brings in flute to feather-drift its way around the tune—a nice balance for the electronics and a western-flavored guitar line. For you latter-era TD fans, the closing track, “The Phoenix,” brings in some sultry, oh-so-smooth-jazz sax a la Linda Spa. It’s almost a bit too nostalgic, and borders precariously on being too much of an example of that era’s cheesiness, but it’s still pleasant. As much as I love this style, there are places on L3G4CY that have a bit too much of the tinny sounds and cliche phrasing that feel like examples of why the style’s star faded somewhat. The iffy charm of electronic drums can wear thin, and there’s only so much sparkly synth I can handle in one sitting. “The Sea of Stars,” featuring guest musician Johan Tronestam, is such a piece. Despite more gnarly guitar (with a trill perhaps lifted from Oldfield’s “Serpent Dream” on TBIII), its tick-tock cadence sends me reaching for the skip button. L3G4CY has been a pleasant driving companion for me. It’s energetic, it rocks, it pings those old-school pleasure centers, and it can just be a lot of fun to listen to. A good tribute to the Maestro, and well worth a listen.
Available from Border’s Edge Music.