Desolate Realm - Legions review
|Release date:||March 2023|
02. Final Dawn
03. Forsaken Ground
06. The Lost One
07. Through The Depths
08. Eternal Winter
Does doom metal have to be so doom and gloom? Well, of course it doesn't, in the traditional sense anyway; it can actually be thrilling and entertaining.
Let's take you back to the beginning of what we now have come to know as doom metal, when new exciting bands suddenly emerged onto this newly exciting scene, as bands such as Candlemass and Pentagram came to being, the offspring of the mighty Black Sabbath, some would say. Powered by the deep heavy guitar tone, low tone bass, and galloping traditional heavy riffs, this genre brought a whole new level of excitement to metal, and it's long continued to excite, and most of us metal heads have come to admire it.
Desolate Realm is the duo project of Matias Nastolin (guitars, bass, vocals), and Olli Törrönen (drums), both of whom are members of the Finnish death metal act Decaying, a far cry from this particular band. Their self-titled debut, released back in 2021, was a riff-tastic testosterone-fuelled, fun, energetic ride of sheer delight; now their 2023 release, Legions, carries on this mighty trend by keeping true to their traditional old-school ways, with epic songwriting and adventurous lyrical tales. On top of this, you have Nastolin's beefy vocals, and energetic galloping riffs that transcend slow-to-mid-tempo doom plods.
The album's cover art, may to some degree indicate to you the scale of epicness that lies ahead, with its depiction of a fantasy Master Of The Universe-style setting, but it could also be an indicator of a cliché, typical run-of-the-mill scenario ahead instead, depending on how you perceive it.
Yes, the songwriting won't blow you away, unless you're one of those nerdy fantasy fanatics who fantasizes of being a heroic macho swordsman, sworn to protect the world from the fierce dragons and evil undead that rampage the world, or an RPG/Dungeons and Dragons fanatic (yes, that's me, guilty as charged). Still, despite the lack of originality in the songwriting department, Nastolin's performance proves once again to be nothing short of spectacular, and there's no denying that the pulsating energy and level of aggression from tracks such as "Final Dawn" and "Forsaken Ground" and will get your heart pumping, your fists thumping, and your head banging.
The rest of the album has its great moments, but I didn't find anything with that impressive 'wow' factor, until I hit “Betrayal” that is, which for me one of the standout tracks. However, that's not the main highlight; now talk about saving the best to last (as is often the case with albums such as these) with an epic to close what is undoubtedly an epic album, and that is "Eternal Winter", signalling to me a mixed vibe of Pentagram and Manilla Road, with its heavy, plodding, and traditionally melodic doom style riffs, and repetitively epic, heavy structure. Clocking over eight minutes is a general risk to take with tracks such as this, however it's one track that I can easily listen to again and again.
Legions may not be a contender for the most groundbreaking original release of the year, but take it for what it is, and that's an album for an enjoyable headbanging good time.
||Written on 24.03.2023 by|
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