Legion of the Damned aren’t a hard band do describe. If anything they seem to be striving to ensure – in a kind of musical equivalent of onomatopoeia – that all of their songs and album titles are an accurate description of how they sound.
‘Ravenous Plague’ – the seventh release from the Dutch thrash/death metal act – opens with the stirring instrumental The Apocalyptic Surge, a kind of epic film-score swell reminiscent of classic sci-fi or fantasy. The restrained build up breaks almost immediately with Howling for Armageddon, a song that is practically frothing at the mouth with thrash fuelled energy. The pace scarcely pauses for breath for the rest of the album as the bands blaze though song like Ravenous Abominations and Summon All Hate (A rousing battle cry somewhere between Slayer and Amon Amarth).
Doom Priest is probably the one track on the album that attempts to rein in this frenzied energy a little bit, veering instead (as the title suggests) into doom metal territory. The lack of speed leaves the track a slow and slightly unwieldy beast – the attempt at variation is nice, but if it ain’t broke maybe seeking a way to fix it might be a little futile.
Legion of the Damned are a band that remains consistently uncomplicated in their intensity, hitting the all of the typical metal notes, with some neat little guitar squeals and palpitating drum fills thrown in at regular intervals for good measure, just about keeping things interesting.
The effect is a type of music that immediately suggests that it was written for a live context, music that was purposely composed as the soundtrack for swirling circle pits. Not that this means that it doesn’t work on the record. Stick Black Baron on your iPod on the way into work some morning and you’ll feel like the Luas is carrying you and all the other commuters off to some glorious battle. It might as well be daring you not to headbang along to the frenzied beat.