Legion of the Damned: Ravenous Plague (2014)
Review by Trevor Proctor
Dutch thrash band Legion of the Damned will release their seventh full length album via their new label, Napalm Records in January 2014 – it’s the first to feature new guitarist Twan Van Geel and also their first since the suicide of bass player Twan Fleuren in 2011. The album was produced by Andy Classen at the Stage One studio in Germany – new guitarist Van Geel assumes all guitar duties on Ravenous Plague with Hein Willekens assisting for live performances – the album’s lyrics will concentrate on apocalyptic themes and the dissolution of society.
Ravenous Plague starts with intro “The Apocalyptic Surge” an instrumental so dramatic it sounds like it’s been snatched from a powerful action scene in a movie – testimony to the fact it was created by Jo Blankenburg whose music has previously been used in movies such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. It’s an extremely effective intro that grabs the attention but it’s when “Howling for Armageddon” kicks in that Legion unleash their thrash to the world. It’s a blistering track with Van Geel dictating the pace with his proficient guitar playing throughout, his riffs chug along but it’s his screaming solo play in the background that stands out and accentuates each track – he’s an excellent guitar player and his influence is present throughout the duration of the album.
The pace during this album rarely lets up and Legion has created a number of excellent musical highlights set within a very stable, accomplished thrash framework. Ravenous Abomination is a standout track, especially the guitar solo at its finale that again shows the ability of Van Geel. Doom Priest is another exceptional track that starts quite slowly with a spoken word section at the beginning, it riffs along at a steady pace, again with excellent drums and guitar work dictating the pace – in fact during the entire album the drumming and guitar playing are both of a very high standard.
There’s nothing here that will blow the shoes off you in terms of originality but there’s plenty of head nodding, foot thumping moments that will remind you why you fell in love with thrash in the first place, it’s an excellent thrash album from start to finish that doesn’t need to be filled with originality to be significant. Throughout “Ravenous Plague” Legion of the Damned have achieved a sound faithful to the roots of thrash without ever sounding like hyped up Slayer wannabes – they have a quality thrash sound that’s all of their own and deserve recognition for doing so. The Legion is embarking on a lengthy European tour as main support for Sepultura from February 2014 and would be well worth catching live but give this great thrash album a listen before you go…
1. The Apocalyptic Surge.
2. Howling for Armageddon.
3. Black Baron.
4. Mountain Wolves under a Crescent Moon.
5. Ravenous Abominations.
6. Doom Priest
7. Summon all Hate
8. Morbid Death
9. Bury Me in a Nameless Grave
10. Armalite Assassin
11. Strike of the Apocalypse
Ravenous Plague will be released via Napalm Records on the 3rd of January (Europe) 6th January (UK) and the 7th of January in the US.