What seems like a lifetime ago, I used to go to Niagara Falls with a bunch of people to ring in the New Year, celebrating endings and beginnings by paying way too much money for food, alcohol, and entry to things. One of many constants on this annual trip was visiting a haunted house which naturally occurred after a few refreshments. It was a good and unserious time, full of the jump-scares and villains anyone who’s dabbled in horror knows and loves, hates, or loves to hate. Deathless Legacy, to my ears, wants to capture this in musical form on their third full-length release Dance with Devils.
To continue milking my simile, Dance with Devils reminds me of the chainsaw the actor playing a character who was legally not Leatherface revved up near my inebriated posse: it’s completely and utterly toothless. Despite trying to sound like Death SS via their humble beginnings as a tribute to those guys, Deathless Legacy comes across more as a soporific Halloween-themed Nightwish, but with worse vocals. There are plenty of keyboards, and the tempos don’t generally get too lively. Sadly, “Monster Mash” may actually make for an apt comparison.
The Halloween shtick works best on “Heresy,” which tries to sound like what would happen if Epica retooled one of their simpler and shorter singles for a Treehouse of Horror special but only had about fourteen hours to rearrange and rerecord it. Given Epica’s proclivity for writing good poppy hooks, I can’t say “Heresy” is completely awful (Simone and friends are famous for a reason, after all), but this isn’t to be confused with glowing praise. Keyboardist Pater Blaurot puts on an adept performance throughout and is without a doubt Deathless Legacy’s strongest asset. The Hammond solo in “Lucifer” nails down a solid and fun late 70s vibe, and the otherwise boring “The Black Oak” gets a shot in the arm from a hilariously excessive Children of Bodom-esque outburst of keyboard shredding.
Given that I’ve committed to this bit now, let’s keep it going: the atmosphere of a haunted house pervades throughout Dance with Devils’s duration, but it hits upon the wrong experience inside of one. Instead of the spooked and entertained visitor, “Join the Sabbath” drags along with its excruciating vocal lines and calmative riffing and puts me in the shoes of a member of the janitorial staff, attending to my tedious chore while barely adequate background music plays through the speakers. “Devilborn” is born from a desire to make a Nightwish song with no personality and zero hooks, and vocalist Steva La Conhiala butchers the chorus by having vocals that attempt to soar but, channeling a lazy Icarus, come crashing down without getting remotely close to the sun. “Creatures of the Night” sounds like an abortive attempt to recapture what happened on Jørn’s “Swing of Death” from Dracula, but as La Cinhiala doesn’t have the chops to sing convincingly, she can’t really over-sing either and instead resorts to a God-awful shriek-scream when her one-note monotony needs to be pushed to 5 instead of 3. Predictably, a good keyboard solo is the only part worth paying attention to in this tune.
I cannot recommend Dance with Devils to anyone. The production is uninteresting and boilerplate; having a detailed opinion on it would be tantamount to a food critic intensely reviewing saltine crackers. Much like how Rob Zombie’s idiotic take on Halloween shot itself in the foot, tripped, and was promptly impaled on a pitchfork, Deathless Legacy’s shockingly incompetent take on Death SS and horror-rock, in general, does little more than consigning itself to the ash-heap of wantonly irritating rubbish. Michael Myers was terrifying in the original Halloween because it wasn’t clear why he was wandering around murdering everyone. In this sense, Deathless Legacy may be considered terrifying too, because I have no idea why anyone would willingly put out something this boring. In a conclusion fitting of Halloween, a few shots have been fired at Dance with Devils and now it’s about to promptly disappear…from my playlist, anyway.