Cairo - Time Of Legends

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA 9044-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:19:00

Ah, the good old seventies! You know, that time in which progressive rock bands actually got some exposure and were constantly in the face of critics who gradually became more irate as things started to get really wild, bombastic, and long. That time in which one could actually get to see a band like Yes play with a band like Black Sabbath. That time in which records were released year after year and musicians didn't seem that constrained by anything. That time during which musicians wore shining capes, wrote completely unintelligible lyrics, went from good expansion to utter exaggeration, and became insufferably haughty in some cases. You know what? Do me a favor. Forget I even started with this. Just keep one little souvenir in your mind as we ride along: ELP.

That's right, the cornerstone trio that owed much of its sound and style to the daring keyboard antics of Keith Emerson, that forms part of the most important pillars of classic progressive rock, and that will be the first band to come to mind when one listens to Cairo and its third effort, Time of Legends. It's not that the American act is a shameless clone of ELP, but the sound is rather close and sprinkled lightly with a little Yes and other such tiny particles here and there, so that what one is getting is a load of symphonic and classical rock in orthodox tradition.

Too orthodox, actually. What this band has in tightness and coordination, it lacks in novelty, thus missing the wondrous element of surprise that kept progressive rock interesting during its halcyon days and kicked the listener right in the...gut. The songs are there, the attitude is not lost upon the listener, and Mark Robertson is most certainly capable of lighting fire to the world with his dexterous keyboard attack, but it's all just another rehashing of other bands' old glories; a "been there, done that" that, while quite well executed, is really not very memorable. It even gets to the point where I'm still suspecting that it was really Keith Emerson who played the solo on "Underground," and am almost convinced enough to bet big on that.

Of course, there are exceptions. "The Prophecy" starts off with an awesomely engaging bass line that forms the persistent background for some interesting keyboard action, and there are moments in "You Are The One" and "Coming Home" that really hit a chord. Not only that, but the performance on the entire album is flawless, the band's guest musicians work like a well-oiled engine, and Bret Douglas' pleasant but capable range confers the music an added touch of personality. Even then, however, Time Of Legends is defined more by its lack of spark than by its musicians' instrumental abilities, so that the album joins the already numerous ranks of symphonic and classical rock efforts that are played perfectly and contain all the traditional elements of the music, but which nevertheless do not manage to stand out among what has become a quagmire of commonplace progressive rock releases.

PS. Irrelevant and uninteresting note for anyone aware of the fact that Rick Ray's Manipulated D.N.A. was reviewed merely weeks ago [when this was originally published at]: the opening of that album and that of Time Of Legends are extremely similar. Sorry, I just had to get it out.

Underground (8:06) / The Prophecy (10:15) / Scottish Highland (2:39) / You Are The One (5:44) / Cosmic Approach (4:20) / Coming Home (7:08) / The Fuse (9:02)

Mark Robertson - keyboards
Jeff Brockman - drums
Bret Douglas - vocals
Luis Maldonado - guitar
Brian Hutchinson - guitar
John Evans - bass

Cairo (1994)
Conflict and Dreams (1998)
Time Of Legends (2001)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin US

Added: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1132
Language: english


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