The debut album Stab Me from UK blackened doomsters Legions of Crows is a gnarly vindictive release that walks the fine line between appalling the senses and lighting them up with unconventional and deliberately challenging intrusions. Even after numerous listens one does not know whether to consign it to the moving on or the lay back and let it violate again and again folder. For all the release’s disjointed caustically seemingly nonviable sounds and ideas it is deeply mesmeric though not always with a clear distinction why.
Coming from Salisbury Legions of Crows consists of Attila (vocals, keyboards, programming), joined on the CD by Herod (guitars, bass) and Jon “The Revelator” Maple (spoken word, vocals). Despite the demo in 2009 Cacophonous Aural Wickedness the band is still relatively unknown though it grabbed enough attention to fuel a link up with Funeral Rain Records for their debut album’s release.
Legions of Crows is a venomous release, the band’s uncompromising hatred, disgust, and nihilistic opinion on everything from religion and politics to conforming to an oppressive life and its directors, dripping with caustic intensity throughout. The intent and vehemence disruptively provocative from the band and as challenging and consuming as their crushing black sounds. As the eight tracks do their worst one feels like they are being judged and punished whilst at the same time having every sense fed with unexpected but addictive creativity, like the worst hypnotic horror no matter how you try you cannot turn away or really want to.
The album is book ended by two tracks that evolve from church like ‘innocence’ into blackened malevolence. The opener ‘Provident Hymn-Malediction’ starts with church bells and a chilly atmosphere to bring forth a hymn which is soon consumed by a heavy ominous doom fuelled sound and threatening riffs. When the two merge further along it is a disconcerting but hypnotic effect. Alongside the clean choir vocals the wizened crone like vocals of Atilla spit venom and despise to ensure no moral comfort will be freely given. Closing track ‘Coventry Carol’ has a similar start, a church organ announcing and accompanying the blackened aural monstrosity devouring all senses. The track then turns into another hymn like doom dirge with the guest vocals of Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden, Battlezone) leading the way with the venomous tones of Attila in the background alongside a wonderful choir like backing from Tracey Benecke, the contrast between all and the punishing sounds extremely agreeable.
In between the other tracks are threatening, distorted and doom metal at its more ingenious. Though the sounds on the surface do not immediately stand out from those found elsewhere it is with the delving into a tracks depth and focusing on the creative use and placing of unexpected and unpredictable elements that make the release a more eager proposition. At times tracks such as ‘Legions Of Crows’ with its electronic taunts , ‘Carrion Pond Drove’ and its disturbed filthy beauty and carnal like bestiality, and ‘Bullshit Acres’ intrigue and experiment with the senses as they twist them inside out with slowly crushing riffs and melodies from the blackest abyss. The latter is a formidable march of deliberate antagonistic intensity and probing brutality and easily the best track on the album.
Whether Stab Me will bring Legions of Crows to a much wider recognition it is hard to tell as the album will certainly put off as many as it draws into its black tapestries. It needs work to listen to and many are never prepared to go deeper to explore and welcome the expressions and borderline indulgences bands like Legions Of Crows bring forth. Stab Me is far from being an album of the year choice and still leaves one undecided but it does invite regular continued assessment.