Bitch-slapping the senses with every thrash driven note they can muster, Dutch metallers Legion Of The Damned unleash another torrential assault of their uncompromising unashamed thrash metal brawling. Careering through the ears with rampages of aggressive virulence since 2005, and the thirteen years before that as Occult, Legion Of The Damned offers no pretences of being anything other than what they are, a ravenous unfussy fury of thrash antagonism. With five studio albums under their belt plus another quintet in their earlier guise, the Limburg hailing quartet uncages a contagious voracity in the new shape of Ravenous Plague, an album which admittedly holds little surprises but feeds the hunger for all out thrash aggression with ease.
Legion Of The Damned is one of those bands where you can heartily debate whether they bring anything new to the genre with each release or are simply reliving previous glories in a new aural twisting of confrontation but it is hard to deny that, as shown by Ravenous Plague, they more times than not serve up a rapacious treat which ignites the senses and fires up the passions. The foursome of vocalist Maurice Swinkels, drummer Erik Fleuren, guitarist Twan van Geel, and bassist Harold Gielen charge at the ears and chew their flesh from the very start once the exciting introduction The Apocalyptic Surge gets things under way. The epically brewed incitement was composed by Jo Blankenburg who has written music for films in the Harry Potter and X-Men franchise, and though it follows an almost predictable route still raises the emotions and drives blood rigorously through the veins in anticipation of what is to come. Howling for Armageddon is the first encounter to follow, its muscles rippling with almost spiteful energy as adrenaline fuelled rhythms are viciously wielded. With the great scowling delivery of Swinkels sprawling venom and anthemic enticement from every syllable it is a rousing recruitment of ears and passions, uncorrupted thrash primed to fill every untainted genre want.
Both the exhausting rampage of Black Baron and the magnetic Mountain Wolves Under a Crescent Moon thrillingly continue the bruising start, the first an unrelenting scourge of sinewed boned rhythms and rapacious riffing entwined with short but infectious grooves and skilful sonic seepages from the guitars. Its successor gallops from first note to last with a breath sucking energy and persistent riffing which is familiar but again sculpted to please the greediest appetites whilst the anthemic lure of the track is epidemic like in its potency just as the fiery solo which scorches the song’s climax.
Ravenous Abominations raises the game in predatory rabidity, riffs and drums tearing through the ears with pack like hunger whilst grooves and vocals entice and intimidate respectively. Like its predecessors it is an addictive intrusion continuing the thoroughly enjoyable and pulse racing start to the release and little changes when Doom Priest and the excellent Summon All Hate parade their savage persuasions. The first of the pair from a doomy malevolent start with spoken scene setting vocals and slowly weaving sonic and melodic invention, rides the emotions with a blackened swagger. It is an absorbing slice of smouldering satanic emprise, a more slowly burning encounter than the previous tracks but no less effective and corruptive whilst its successor is a wonderfully nagging sonic irritant which coaxes and drags a primal satisfaction from the listener for its inflexible temptation. Though suspicions are rife quite early the track confirms the repetitious use of riffs and grooves across the album, not always exactly the same but closely related and truthfully it hardly raises an eyebrow as the album pleases the ears.
From here on in Ravenous Plague fails to match the previous heights though it is fair to say that it and the caustically crafted Morbid Death and the dramatically grooved Bury Me in a Nameless Grave leave satisfaction full whilst Armalite Assassin nastily stomps with nostrils flaring and endeavour rioting to provide another chug fest of unyielding gratification. The only thing bringing the tracks down a little is that there is little openly different to that already served up by the release.
Closing on the mulish Strike of the Apocalypse, a song again lacking new elements to stand away out from came before but still arrogantly thrusting forward a tide of corrosive riffs, bone splintering rhythms, and acidic grooves to devour selfishly, the Napalm Records released Ravenous Plague is a thumping aural carnivore of thrash metal. Ok it is not inventing or reinventing a great deal but it and Legion of the Damned have unleashed a thrilling tempest of unapologetic attitude and accomplished thrash pleasure; it is a treat which gets the genre’s year off to a fine start.
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