Legion of the Damned_Ravenous Plague2014 is here and it’s time for the Metal Show to begin anew! And what better way to raise the curtain on the sixth year of AMG than with… retread thrash! Yes, yes, you’ve all had your fill of thrash, re-thrash, retro-thrash and frash, but as long as bands keep spitting this stuff out, we in the reviewing biz have a duty to review it… and it’s a BIG duty!

Today’s used tire is Ravenous Plague by the ever reliable and unchanging Dutch thrashers Legion of the Damned. Unlike many of their peers, LoTD managed to keep their thrash fairly entertaining over a lengthy career without tweaking the age old  formulas, adding outside influences or “shaking things up.” Instead, they cull and crib ideas from Slayer, modern Exodus and the best of Germanic thrash, then go about their speedy endeavors with a single-minded ferocity and hope the pieces fall into place. More often than not, they do just that and you get nasty, heavy thrash that borders on death metal. Ravenous Plague does nothing to change their trajectory and it’s a virtual carbon copy of 2011s Descent Into Chaos, save for slightly bigger influence from wildly under-appreciated 80’s thrashers Deathrow. If you were looking for something original, you best leave the hall. This is thrash after all, craptastic cover art included at no extra charge.

If you heard any of the older LoTD material, you know what to expect on tracks like opener “Howling for Armageddon,” i.e. big, bruising riffery, frenetic soloing and the semi-death barks of Maurice Swinkels. So familiar is the music, it will easily remind many of their classic tune (in relative terms), “Werewolf Corpse.” The same issue plagues “Mountain Wolves Under a Crescent Moon,” but to a lesser extent, and it’s rescued by some leads that sound like vintage Mortal Sin. While both songs are enjoyable, the self-plagiarization is a bit troubling. Elsewhere, “Black Baron” borrows the twitchy, jittery riff style made famous by Deathrow and it reminds me a lot of “Slaughtered” from their 1986 debut. Similarity aside, it’s a satisfying thrash tune with ample balls and pissed off energy.

Legion-of-the-Damned_2013Things hit a high point with “Doom Priest,” which benefits from a huge “Seasons in the Abyss” vibe and adds various Morbid Angel riff ideas for good measure (and as a bonus, the video has more dramatic facial expressions than a Mexican telenovela). Also well done is “Morbid Death” with it’s Release From Agony era Destruction style, and “Armalite Assassin,” which sports fluid, vaguely blackened riff patterns.

Less potent is the slower, generic grind of “Summon All Hate” and the somewhat dull rumble of  “Bury Me in a Nameless Grave.” No song is outright bad, but the album is definitely front loaded with better material. It also feels a tad overlong at 45 minutes, which is the outer limits of my thrash tolerance these days.

As good as some of the riffing is by new gunslinger Twan van Geel, it often feels too close to what LoTD has done in the past. Granted, there’s only so much a modern day thrasher can do to create fresh sounding riffs, but Toxic Holocaust keeps doing it, so it can be done. Another issue is the lack of memorable vocal hooks and patterns. While Swinkel always had a basic, one-note delivery, he usually managed to do little things to make his vocals stand out and stick in the head. That happens less here, and while he still sounds mean as junkyard dog on meth, he only shines on a few cuts like “Doom Priest” and “Morbid Death.”

Our new Year of the Lord starts with more thrash, and thrash is as thrash does, for better or worse, always. I’ll be the first to tell you though, it can be a lot worse than this. Ravenous Plague is a decently entertaining, but ultimately average outing by a band I usually enjoy more heartily. Did you expect something truly new in this new year? If you did, humbug and fiddlesticks to you!


Rating: 2.5/5.0
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: legionofthedamned.net  |  facebook.com/LOTDOfficial
Release Dates: EU: 2014.03.01  |  NA: 01.07.2014

 

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  • Игорь Чернов

    …and they back to work! previous album – Descend Into Chaos, was cool.

    i think 2014 at the start kick some asses – because, persuader band, from long period finally release new album, i have hope to see some review, it would be amazing

  • Anything to look out on this Year of the Lord? I’m excited about Opeth of course, I happen to be one of those people who enjoyed Heritage. And Triptykon too.

    • I looking forward to Kuolemanlaakso, Slough Feg, Grand Magus, Iron Savior, Crematory and Blackfinger to name just a few.

      • Right Slough Feg!, I heard the preview tracks yesterday and Scalzi is sounding great! I hope CM finally gets him the overdue recognition he rightly deserves, specially after the year he had.

      • Piet

        The new Insomnium, Eluveitie and Elvenking are the ones I am looking most forward to this year.

    • Kalsten

      I’m ashamed to say in public that I am very curious about the re-recording of ManOwaR’s Kings of Metal. The same sensation when someone tell you to watch a “extremaly disgusting video” and you end up watching it (2girls1cup anyone?).

      • You should be ashamed of yourself. What would your family and friends think?

        • Kalsten

          They don’t know. Please don’t tell them :(

    • Realkman666

      It’s a Sonata Arctica year. That’s all.

  • Here’s Johnny

    average my arse, if you need a good slab of headbanging metal you cannot go wrong with LOTD. great riffs, catchy songs, full speed ahead thrash.

    they sound like a death/thrash version of motorhead that is very very angry. i don’t see motorhead releasing albums that are very different each time either.

    are LOTD that original no? do they entertain me and make my head bang like a motherfucker. oh yes!

    ‘doom priest’ is a fantastic song.

    ‘bury me in a nameless grave’ is a fucking great song too and a bit different for them.

    bunch of depressives on here im telling you!

    3.5/5

    • You should do your own review site so you can give every album a 3.5 or 4.0. Actually, there are lots of other websites that do that already.

      • Here’s Johnny

        haha well id give satyricon 1 for a start so your wrong ;) this album took a couple of spins. its actually has more depth than you would think. each song has plenty of killer riffs. no way is it just an OK. LOTD fucking kill ,even more so live. they do exactly what it says on the tin.

        • I was a strong supporter of their last album and I like their sound a lot. This one just didn’t hit me as hard as their older ones did. Still better than 70% of the thrash out there though.

          • Here’s Johnny

            i thought the last one was a bit weaker than the album before it. this album is a bit dirtier and def sounds like a ravenous plague.

            i just think they kick ass, when im bored on the train i always seem to lean towards a bit of LOTD on my mp3 player to make time go quicker and want to kill my fellow passengers.

          • As a train commuter myself, I can totally relate to that.