You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and obviously not, a band by their logo…
Up until now I have dismissed Legion of the Damned with the the silly objection that their logotype made me think that ”this must be another boring In Flames or Soilwork-clone”. With a prejudiced attitude like that you’re bound to miss out on some goodies, but at least, this time, it gave me a pleasant surprise, because as soon as the first guitar riff on ”Slaves of the Shadow Realm” tear the silence to shreds it’s very clear that this is not another boring attempt to make a new ”Clayman”, no, this is something completely different!
”Slaves of the Shadow Realm” consist of nine furious thrash metal-anthems in its most pure and aggressive form and it’s pretty refreshing with a modern thrash metal-band, paying homage to the past, without sounding like a crossover band, like Municipal Waste or SSS. I wouldn’t go as far as calling Legion of the Damned Death Metal, but it’s pretty clear that they got their roots in bands like Possessed, Whiplash and Merciless, not Anthrax or S.O.D. If I was to make a more up to date comparison it would be the slightly faster, less ”punky”, and a bit more sophisticated ”brother” of, the also brilliant, Toxic Holocaust.
The songs on ”Slaves of the Shadow Realm”, for most of the time, blasts away in a rabid tempo but you get some chance to breathe in the more mid-tempo paced ”Carnal Confession” and the delightfully groovy ”Slaves of the Southern Cross” and besides the fact that the songs are based around really great guitar riffs from Twan Van Geel, Maurice Swinkels vocals, sounding like a furious blend of Mille Petrozza and Tom Angelripper, fits the music perfectly.
If you want to complain about something I could do without the pointless, but luckily short, piano(!) intro on the title track and the also short, but still pointless, orchestral outro that ends an, otherwise flawless record.
I have been listening to ”Slaves of the Shadow Realm” more than a few times at this point and it still gets better for every ”spin on the turntable”, and speaking of turntables, get the limited vinyl version with the bonus 7” (or the limited edition CD), because the two bonus tracks, ”Priest Hunt” and ”Azazel’s Crown”, are at least as good, maybe even better, than the original tracks on this album!
With ”Slaves of the Shadow Realm” you get a great start of the music year 2019!
Artist: Legion of the Damned
Title: Slaves of the Shadow Realm
Label: Napalm Records
Date of release: 4/1-19
Playing time: 38:08
Stand out track: Dark Coronation