With all the talk I’ve been hearing of Legion of the Damned’s “debut” disc, MALEVOLENT RAPTURE, I haven’t heard a damn thing about the band Occult. Why does this matter you may ask? Well, Legion of the Damned originally went by the name Occult and released five full-length albums from 1994 to 2003. The band originally started has a slightly blackened, extreme thrash metal band but by 2003’s ELEGY FOR THE WEAK the band were playing a slightly modernized version of blackened death/thrash that wasn’t too far from, say, Sodom (especially the vocal style) with a hint of The Crown.
Legion of the Damned hit the ground running on MALEVOLENT RAPTURE with, “Legion of the Damned”. The production of the album pushes the guitars to the forefront, like any good thrash metal album, and with that grinding opening riff, any thrash will be more than happy to get that punch to the face. While that first riff might be a tad slow, the song picks up the pace quickly and does not let up from then on. Rolling chugging, vicious accenting drums, and the gargling glass vocals all add up to a killer opener. “Werewolf Corpse” opens up with another rolling thrash riff, in fist pounding fashion no less, though it would be criminal to neglect the staccato riff that comes in at 0:41. It will quickly dawn on the listener that this song is a veritable thrash feast as riffs change constantly, not to mention one will find many riffs being played with different variations on the tempo.
“Into the Eyes of the Storm” is a fist pounder at heart, mid-paced riffing to open much of the song, but the band apparently finds it irresistible to pick up the pace. The song eventually hitting a feverish pace, the drums sounding frantic and everything sounds like it’s going to fall apart (much like some of those classic thrash tracks from Kreator or Dark Angel) before settling back into a slower pace. In “Demonfist” the band find the mid-paced sections appealing yet again, especially with a crushing mid-paced verse riff that really reminds one of Kreator’s “People of the Lie” or other likeminded songs.
The band were honestly up to something very good with Occult and it’s both a shame and a blessing that the band have continued under a different name because while nobody seemed to care before, a lot of people are picking up on this young, “new” band Legion of the Damned. I assure you, the reader, that you definitely don’t want to be one of the few who doesn’t pick up this album this year.
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