Metal Church - The Present Wasteland

When I think of Legion Of The Damned, I have this image of a group of black-clad, long haired (with the exception of drummer Erik Fleuren) lads, performing their riff-orientated, Sodom-influenced Thrash Metal in venues around Europe. It has been quite a few occasions since the band’s inception back in 2004 that I have seen this quartet live, and the funny thing about it is that they never once held the slot of headliner. Well, the number of times that I have seen this band perform live are most probably about to be increased as the year 2011 finds the band releasing its fifth studio album under the title “Descent Into Chaos” and, according to their very professional-looking website, they have already arranged quite a few dates in support of Canadian Deathsters Kataklysm around Europe.

Legion Of The Damned is a pretty straight forward band as far as their influences and musical orientation is concerned. It will not take long for any well trained Thrash Metal ear to realise how heavily saturated with the works of Tom Angelripper’s Sodom these noisy Dutch really are, and it is in similarly-minded riffs that the backbone of each of the eleven new compositions on offer have been based upon. Having said that, one will occasionally come across a guitar melody reminiscent of those normally found on an Exodus album or the kind of short and technically immature guitar solos that legends of the scene such as Slayer have based their whole career upon. Well, all these could be interpreted as great accolades by most, so, are we really talking about the next great Thrash Metal album here?

If what you are into is straight-forward, riff-orientated Teutonic Thrash Metal in the vein of Sodom “Persecution Mania”/”Agent Orange” era, then “Descent Into Chaos” ought to be a very attractive musical proposition for you. Having said that, I believe that there are certain ‘aspects’ that you need to be aware prior to investing in it. Though riff-orientated gems such as “Night Of The Sabbath”, “Holy Blood, Holy War” and “Desolation Empire” will put you in a head banging mood and will impress with their Slayeric solos and sing-along choruses/refrains, the same level of quality is not achieved throughout the album. Surely, tracks such as the Exodus-influenced “Shrapnel Rain” and the slightly more atmospheric “Lord Of The Flies” will comfort and reassure you, however, you might find yourself feeling at some point that the album lacks variety in the sense that the majority of the compositions move in a similar tempo, thus undermining their individuality. On a more positive note, those same compositions are created with much passion by these lads and the fact that their average length is between three and a half to four minutes means that it won’t take long to get to know and feel comfortable with them.

So how does one evaluate an album such as “Descent Into Chaos”? Well, I actually believe that what we have here is quite an enjoyable effort. Do I feel about it the way I do as a result of having grown up in the 80s and being a massive fan of bands like Sodom? I am sure that this has something to do with that, however, what I have always liked about Legion Of The Damned is that, though they honour their influences on the highest level possible, they always tried to present them from a modern perspective, whether that involves looks, album covers or general attitude. This eleven track album will not re-invent Thrash but it will remind you what it is that you love about this great genre!

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).

Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)

Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)

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