BLACK LEGIONS: Rise Of Impious Demonolatry
Release year: 2019
Label: Bestial Burst
Italian duo Black Legion wear their influences on their sleeve. The album sleeve, that is: everything about this screams bestial old school black metal. The black and white cover with that hue of red for the lettering; the logo which is almost but not quite alike the classic Blasphemy logo, the band photo with fire-breathing in ruins, and the old school corpsepaint without white foundation. Yes, I hear what you’re saying: Blasphemy! Beherit! VON! Bestial black metal!
And that’s exactly what you get.
The Italians make no claim to originality or forward-thinking. This is boneheaded, filthy and raw black metal in the old school vein. The above list of influences rings true from the start, and you can most certainly add Wicca/Goetia era Mystifier to the list as well. In fact, there’s more of the sloppy but superb black metal of Mystifier and Beherit here than the blasting chaos of Blasphemy, or the chug-chug-chug of Von. That does not make the album sound original, but seems to me most contemporary bestial black metal bands don’t take this many cues from the Brazilian legends. So Black Legion do have this going for them in comparison to the competition.
The sound is – of course – an underproduced, muffled and buzzing chaos. Like it should be to stay true to the fundaments of the genre. Bass is barely audible, but there is some nice, sparse single-key old school synth work to add a hint of atmosphere. The vocals are, again true to the clichés of the genre, the rabid bark of a hellhound.
Originality be damned. Rise Of Impious Demonolatry is derivative and pastiche to the max, an excercise in doing what others have done before. But it’s also a good album. The duo of Nocturnal Sodomizer and Mareritt Holocausto Frost invoke the clichés and tropes of this rather narrow genre well, creating an album that is totally unoriginal, a bit faceless but very much enjoyable as it is.
I guess it takes something of a boneheaded fan of a certain, very specific sound to like music this boneheaded. But if you, like me, are that kind of a knucklehead, you’ll probably find this very worthwhile. If not, don’t bother wasting your time.