Here’s where I would say Swedish retro death is back, but one cannot come back if they never left in the first place, and they can’t be missed for that very same reason. Since Germany’s Revel in Flesh is but one of many bands making sure the classic Entombed sound never vanishes from this mortal coil, they’re all but guaranteed to feel like that comfortable sock you’ve had since the Ford Administration. Death Kult Legions sounds exactly like all the other throwback acts, with the appropriate amount of chainsaw buzz on the guitars and songs painstakingly patterned from a worn copy of Left Hand Path. The crusty material oozing from this platter is no different from what Entrails, Blood Mortized or any number of other bands are pedalling, but they’re adept at delivering these kind of songs and making them stick. In an overcrowded genre, that’s all that counts unless you’re going for innovation, which these guys most assuredly are not. So what does Dealt Kult Legions offer? It’s simple really. Good tunes from an old genre.
The trouble with reviewing these Swedish death albums is trying to come up with new and interesting ways of describing a really old and pretty basic sound. I’m not going to do that here since everything here sounds like Entombed, Dismember and Grave and the goal is to D-beat the listener into a puddle of warm spoo. There are some really entertaining songs though, like the rabble rousing “In the Name of the Flesh,” and it’s bouncy, urgent energy, and the grim, doomy “When Glory Turns to Ruin” and it’s slight Bolt Thrower fixation. The star of the dog show is “Graveyard Procession” and its rocked out but heavy and grim middle ground. It’s fun, but very much steeped in morbidity and crusty vileness. “Levitation” takes a simple song structure and buoys it with loads of interesting and somewhat epic riffing and “Necropolis” is a death metal update of the very old Manilla Road classic and it works because it’s as funny as the original was.
Most of the tunes are enjoyable and will keep you listening, with only “Black Oath Impurity” feeling a bit unnecessary. That said, at 50 minutes, the album is a wee bit long in the fang and though it ends well, it could use some trimming.
Death Kult Legions is worthwhile because of the quality riffage and apparently, they have three guitarists, which makes them the Iron Maiden of Swedish death (and no, I don’t know which of them plays the role of Janick Gers). The trio stretches nary a genre boundary, but they work very well within it to deliver one caustic riff after enough and naturally, they add in those eerie, unsettling, Italian horror film solos that put the icing on the corpse. The death roars from Ralf Hauber are suitable phlegmtastic and as a whole the band sounds great.
If you’re still able and willing, Revel in Flesh offers more than enough reasons to hop back on that Swede death train you probably never even got off. We all know where it’s heading and we’ve been there many times, but it’s still a pretty decent place to pass the time when it’s done well. Revel in the familiarity.