Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Legion of the Damned - Ravenous Plague (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released :  3/1/2014
Label : Napalm Records

Ravenous Plague, album track listing :

01 - Intro: the Apocalyptic Surge
02 - Howling for Armageddon
03 - Black Baron
04 - Mountain Wolves under a Crescent Moon
05 - Ravenous Abominations
06 - Doom Priest
07 - Summon All Hate
08 - Morbid Death
09 - Bury Me in a Nameless Grave
10 - Armalite Assassin
11 - Strike of the Apocalypse

Bio :

LEGION OF THE DAMNED has always been a reliable source of first-class Thrash Metal and the latest album "Ravenous Plague" continues this tradition in a remarkable way. Songs like 'Summon all Hate', 'Armalite Assassin' and 'Ravenous Abomination' show the crew from its best and most aggressive side. Melodic leads, murderous riffs, furious grooves and rock-hard drums are crowned by the merciless vocals of frontman Maurice Swinkels and create an intensive listening experience. The production was overseen by sound wizard Andy Classen himself. "Ravenous Plague" is a brutal and uncompromising riff bombardment that will set a new standard for the genre!

The Band :
Maurice Swinkels | vocals
Twan van Geel | guitars
Harold Gielen | bass
Erik Fleuren | drums

Review :

Dutch thrash/death denizens Legion of The Damned return and keep up their high work rate with Ravenous Plague. After a mood setting intro, it is straight down to business with “Howling for Armageddon”- it's all there from the off. Thrash rhythms with the snare pounding on the downbeat, semi quaver double bass drums and vicious guitars. Maurice Swinkels vocals are the right level of vicious- clear enough to be understood, but gnarly enough to go with the guitar sound. “Black Baron” follows with more viciousness that falls mid-way between The Haunted's best stuff (with Marco Aro, IMO) and the more deathly delights of, say, Hail of Bullets.

“Mountain Wolves under a Crescent Moon” has a superb song title, feel and riffs. The record just does not let up and exemplifies what is still exciting about thrash- it's an adrenaline fuelled rip ride with unstoppable momentum. The changes come thick and fast- and most importantly effectively. “Ravenous Abominations” follows and ups the aggression even further, if that's possible. The lyric “We stand for an evil cause” just about sums this up nicely! The pace drops, appropriately, for “Doom Priest” but not for long. After a moody intro- complete with spoken word voiceover- the track marches forwards, gradually building the tension with a triplet feel and then adding quick bass drums but keeping the tempo in the mid range. The tempo downgrade allows the band to display some nice riffs and get a good groove going- this is great stuff.

“Summon All Hate” follows, again with a time feel that swings, in a thrash way- obviously. Credit must go to the production team here and drummer Erik Fleuren; the drums have a unique sound that is live and unusual at the same time. This is a welcome change to the usual identikit pro-tools/sound replaced drum sounds found on most records these days. “Morbid Death” sounds just how you want it to with a title like that. Fast and furious it most certainly is! “Bury Me In A Nameless Grave” continues the high tempos before “Armalite Assassin” gallops out of the speakers. Again, the riffs are razor sharp, but there is also a sense of melody at work here (not in a lame In Flames way) and the song flows very well because of this- memorable hooks and passages of guitar combine well. “Strike of The Apocalypse” is the death blow of the record, delivering as it does razor sharp chugging riffs and bursts of thrash pacing.

This album is a classy and unique affair- the band has their own sound that is a mixture of the best bits of thrash with some death influences but without tiresome blast beats. A Euro sensibility to the song writing, riffing and style is palpable and gives the band their own stamp. If you are looking for some vicious thrash with a twist then look no further.

Words by : Richard Maw

You can buy it here

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