Legion of the Damned is back on the road.
Formed in 1992 under the name Occult, the Dutch band changed its name in 2005, after having released five albums. In 2023, Maurice Swinkels (vocals, ex-Bestial Summoning, ex-Bethlehem), Erik Fleuren (drums), Harold Gielen (bass, Defy the Curse, ex-Mangled, ex-Inhume), Twan van Geel (guitar, Bunkur, Flesh Made Sin, Sauron, Soulburn) and Fabian Verweij (guitar, Disquiet) announce the release of The Poison Chalice, their eighth album, on Napalm Records.
The album opens with Saints in Torment, which sets a dark melody before letting the aggressive Thrash and Death Metal roots take over. A few crazy leads explode from the energetic jerky rhythm to create a contrast with raw vocal parts, then the band slows down before an intense final which leads us to Contamination and its ominous introductive sample. The band’s rage quickly asserts itself again through effective, catchy riffs, but the guitarists also indulge in more delicate, melodious parts while returning to their Old School roots on Progressive Destructor with its cutting tones. The thick mix allows each instrument to offer a powerful sound without encroaching on the others, letting leads easily slip into the rhythmic while keeping liveliness which we also found on Skulls Adorn the Traitor’s Gate, a darker but also very martial composition. We even have a few Black/Death influences on this unhealthy track, followed by the long Behold the Beyond, which keeps heavy dissonant tones while integrating them into its aggressive basis. A majestic final offers a brief moment of respite, to only be trampled again by Retaliation’s fierce blast, which returns to the fastest and sharpest tones at full speed. Without denying the visceral darkness permeating riffs, the band lets cold leads run riot before giving way to Savage Intent and its energetic elements, which easily reminds us of the band’s early productions. The devastating moshpart will undoubtedly be used to motivate pits, leading us to the unifying Chimes of Flagellation, which will provoke wild headbanging sessions. The band once again fully embraces its Old School roots, perfectly exploiting them to create energetic riffs to which leads are grafted, leaving us with little downtime before letting Beheading of the Godhead strike with a driving sound. The more moderate tempo allows the band to create more majestic and impressive moments, just like on The Poison Chalice, the eponymous track, which also incorporates heavy parts, like these growls in the background, before letting the musicians charge at full speed to close the album with all its striking force.
Legion of the Damned remains true to its aggressive Old School roots, while incorporating increasingly darker elements on The Poison Chalice. The album is a wave of pure rage which will undoubtedly please.