Thrashy Riffs? Check.
Lycan References? Check
Sodom Influence? Triple Check
...all right, we're ready to go.
Chances are that you haven't heard of Legion of the Damned
, the four piece thrash metal band out of the Netherlands. And in any case, why would you have heard of them? With no major label support, no major tours, and no mention in the media, one could say that LotD
have flown below the radar. It's really a shame however, seeing as they are a breath of fresh air in the thrash metal world. Here's why...
The main reason LotD
stand above many of their thrash metal counterparts is their vocals. Maurice Swinkels has a voice than in very reminiscent of an early Tom Angelripper. His voice is aggressive, and throughout the albums entirety he is able to be understood with no problem. Don't begin to think that as a result of his voice being so clear that he sacrificed a level of aggression though, it is the exact opposite. He sounds as though he is screaming as loud and viciously as his voice will allow. Another aspect of the vocals is that he doesn't stick to one style, but rather mixes death grunts and deep growls with high pitched screams and shrieks. All of which fit in nicely with the underlying created by the rest of the band. The lyrics on the album are also well executed and written:
"Vomit of the Nazarene the waters wash away
As the words of gods burn in the cosmic flame
Lawless godless Antichrist, the black face of sin
Desolator alienates not to deteriorate"
As one can plainly see, they don't really separate themselves lyrically from the pack, but they are well written nonetheless. Most of the album deals with death, the walking dead, and Satan's incarnates (as if I needed to say). Even though this ideology has been used time and time before, they find ways to reword and restate what has already been said, and make it somewhat interesting in the process.
All of the music off of Sons of the Jackal is fast, thrashy, and loud. The guitars, handled by Richard Ebisch are largely responsible for giving this album the "edge" that it has. His riffs are often double tracked, and give the songs a very "big" sound. He makes excellent use of his talent by writing innovative guitar passages that rarely fall back on the chugging riffs being used so much in metal today. His writing is frantic, and in any given song he encompasses up to ten solid rhythms and riffs. For instance, on "Death in My Master (Slay for Kali)" and the title track off the album, "Son of the Jackal," the guitar work is all over the place, in a good way. He never stays on one riff long enough for it to become repetitive, but never quite makes riffs short enough to the point where the songs could have done without them.
Another bright spot on the album is the guitar solos. Ebisch uses a nice combination of melody and shred (more shred though), and does a nice job of doing what's best for each song. If anything negative can be said about the guitars though, it's here as well; many of the solos run up and down the same scale, just in a different key. Even though he does a good job of avoiding many of the same licks and sweeps in every solo, the patterns become noticeable, and only slightly short of predictable.
Sonically, the bass on the album can be heard. Harold Gielen does a good job keeping up with Ebisch, and provides a nice wall of sound along with the rhythm guitars when the solos come in. There's nothing really fancy to note on here, but the fact that he is able to keep up with the guitars in impressive enough. The drumming is excellent, and is so without the use of many blast beats. For a majority of the album, the drums are playing a fast 4/4 beat with a rolling double bass, which with the bass, gives the album a powerful low end. The drum work in fast, and the fills are creative without being distracting. The lack of blast beats on the album may turn some harder listeners off, but seeing how it doesn't take away from the album, and only adds a new level to it, that shouldn't be a problem. Erik Fleuren does a great job overall.
With the release of their sophomore album, Son of the Jackal
, Legion of the Damned have put out one of the most aggressive, innovative thrash metal albums in recent memory. From start to finish the album is a breath of fresh air and a nice escape from the many run of the mill thrash metal bands around today. In its entirety this album sounds very heavily influenced by Sodom, without ripping them off. I strongly recommend you check this album out if you're a fan of thrash, or just someone looking for some new music. It's most certainly worth your time.
Lyrics may turn some off, seeing as they've been used before
Son of the Jackal
Death is My Master
Ten Horns Arise