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Music Review: Legion of The Damned – Sons of The Jackal

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In 2006, this thrash metal juggernaut released their debut album, Malevolent Rapture, to a whirl wind of positive reviews, catching the metal world by surprise with a deadly balls to the wall attack. The free-for-all, wide open surge of guitars and drums are incredibly refreshing, as tired as I am of hearing band after band attempt to take the genre to higher levels, only to fail miserably and fall a notch or two. LOTD came at the right time last year, a spark in a sea of miasma, and it is no different this year. The second half of 2006 nearly provided nothing worthy of note, so their release this year is even more welcoming to my ears.

With haste, this new release hoses off the metal plate that, at this point, is piled high with monstrously overwhelming mounds of crap. Like their debut, Sons of The Jackal is raw, and consists of 10 viscously powerful tunes that are, quite fittingly, packaged tightly within a quick play list. This time around a brain-frying 37 minutes. The album busts open with the title track, a tune that plays like a swift kick in the nut sack, and possesses a groove that offers no apologies. Speaking of groove, "Undead Stillborn" presents a riff cycle worthy of any band playing not only in this genre, as with "Avenging Archangel" as well, but in genres that are closely related, like death, or even better yet, what's being heard out in the technical death field. Although, LOTD are not technical death, they aren't that far from it either. Fierce, crunchy speed is the name of game once again, as tune after tune sticks with the same winning formula that their debut offered. After two really good releases now, they can tear up the meal ticket, the banquet is no longer on stand by, they're at the table. Thrash is a widely inclusive genre, but I believe this band to be at or near the top of it at the moment.

Yes, I know the critics of this band, to which there are only a few, love to stick their nose in the air and point out how little LOTD progress the genre, preferring to play from the "Slayer crossed with Venom" template, never really stepping off the red carpet that those two bands laid down. Quite often when I am reading these criticisms, I don't see where the justifications lie within their arguments. Singling out a band's similarity to other bands in the past, as a way to discredit the music, while not constructively analyzing their performance, is not wise and seriously lacks integrity. The music is all that matters, if it is played well, as this album is, then what you should do, instead of worrying about silly acumen, is crank the shit up. That's what metal music is for, and that why I love it. Listen to me, not those blow hards.

RATING: 9/10 – Yeah, Yeah, Yeah… I am going to dispense with the soap box. If you liked their first release, or are on friendly terms with their previous incarnation, Occult, then you need to find this release and fork over some of that wallet confetti. I have spun this album well over 30 times, many of which were in my car (the proper way to gauge an albums effectiveness), and it hasn't grown old to my ears yet. Is it carving new ground? No, but who cares.

About Brian Gould