Reviewed: December 2011
Released: 2011, Season of Mist
As reunions go, the decision by Norway\’s Tsjuder to blow the dust off the old nail bracelets hasn\’t exactly been among heavy metal\’s most prolific. Still, that\’s no bad thing as the quartet have always slithered well below the radar, worshiped by the select few who prefer their black metal to sound raw, grim and authentic and who took the trouble to dig a little deeper than simply sticking to the genre\’s big guns.
These acolytes will undoubtedly delight in the fact that LEGION HELVETE doesn\’t differ greatly from it\’s predecessor – the band\’s erstwhile swansong from 2004, DESERT NORTHERN HELL – at least not in style. What it oozes in abundance is substance, something critics pointed toward as a failing of it\’s predecessor. So while the black metal stylings of \”The Daemon Throne\” and \”Slakt\” are just about as misanthropic and vitriolic as anything the band have done, time away has clearly done the these roustabouts the world of good, as they manage to cram the sort of catchy hooks into proceedings that previously appeared to be above their station. Ironically the shift in emphasis from an all-out 280BPM assault to a more measured and dynamic palette amplifies the potency of Tsjuder battering ram onslaught. Flippantly Norweigian in it\’s blend of melody and Sodom-style nastiness, \”Voldsherskeren\” is a prime example of the group at the peak of their powers – and for the remainder of the record, they rarely put a foot wrong.
Of course, Tsjuder\’s relentless black metal thuggery was never going to suit all tastes and if your idea of the genre at its best conjures visions of fair maidens weeping beside a riverbed, you\’d best steer clear. Personally I subscribe to the philosophy of black metal being a \”fist in the face of society\” (wise word\’s by Marduk\’s Morgan Håkansson, not mine) and in that regard, LEGION HELVETE packs enough punch to stop King Kong dead in his hairy tracks.
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