Legion of the Damned // Descent Into Chaos
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Thrash ’til Dutch!
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: legionofthedamned.net | myspace.com/legionofthedamned
Release Dates: Out now worldwide!
Steel Druhm is a famously soft touch for a mean and angry thrash album. Because of this well know thrash predilection, I’ve celebrated the entire catalogue of Dutch death thrashers Legion of the Damned because these guys can really bring the pain. Over four albums, LOTD (formerly known as Occult) have consistently crafted intense, punishing thrash in the vein of old Slayer and Sodom mixed with the more modern death metal approach of bands like The Crown. They certainly aren’t reinventing the thrash metal genre in any way but they always produced quality material. Happily for thrash mavens, after a three year hiatus they manage to keep the spiked ball rolling with Descent Into Chaos and give yet another lesson in violence and aggressive thrashality.
Basically, LOTD traffics in fast, Slayer-friendly, riff driven songs with harsh barking, snarling vocals courtesy of Maurice Swinkels (sounds too much like sprinkles and there’s no sprinkles in thrash metal!). Songs like “Night of the Sabbath” and “War in My Blood”Â rip and tear as good thrash should and there’s no shortage of tough, biting and memorable thrash riffs. The bitter and hateful vocals spewed by Swinkels (sounding a lot like Tom Angelripper of Sodom at times) really add an extra dimension of viciousness and put the LOTD sound over the top into the realm of thrashtastic. These Dutch boys have this style down cold and know how to write compelling and Angry Metal. Of the ten songs here, every one is a full speed rager and each has cool and addictive riffs and vocal patterns that actually stick in your head. Are the songs simple? Well, yeah. This isn’t prog-thrash, its ugly, evil thrash and simple works just fine here son. For the old OLD time thrash fans out there that still have motor functions, “Holy Blood Holy War” may remind you of “Slaughtered” from Deathrow’s long buried debut album Riders of Doom (which is well worth disinterring IMHO).
This style of metal simply doesn’t work without some high quality and heavy-duty riffs and Richard Ebish is more than up to the task. While most thrash bands rely on a dual axe attack for maximum carnage, LOTD leaves it all to Ebish and the man delivers some of the better thrash riffs out there today (check out “Night of the Sabbath,” “Shrapnel Rain” and “Killzone”). Likewise, drummer Erik Fleuren fulfills an important role by bashing the skins for all they’re worth and sounds plenty frenzied but adds some cool fills and rolls as time permits.
The songs are all pretty short, lingering just long enough to work up a nice rabid froth. The production courtesy of Peter TÃ¤gtgren is sharp and hard-hitting and the drum sound is especially punchy and pounding. I like the way the drums and the guitar bleed together to creates a dense wall of aural chaos and when you add in the screaming and snarling, yeah baby, it’s harsh and nasty and fun!
LOTD excels at what they do and that’s writing solid, heavy thrash that stays well within the established genre confines. Never pushing the boundaries but definitely using all the tricks of the trade to bash the listener into jelly, you know what to expect from LOTD. If you like The Crown or thrash in general, this is right down your dark alley. Check in and get beaten down.