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Legion Of The Damned - The Poison Chalice review

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Band: Legion Of The Damned
Album: The Poison Chalice
Style: Death metal, Thrash metal
Release date: June 2023

01. Saints In Torment
02. Contamination
03. Progressive Destructor
04. Skulls Adorn The Traitor’s Gate
05. Behold The Beyond
06. Retaliation
07. Savage Intent
08. Chimes Of Flagellation
09. Beheading Of The Godhead
10. The Poison Chalice

Consistency is an overlooked quality in music: the ability to know that, when a band's name adorns the cover of an album, that said album will be good. Legion Of The Damned are one of these bands, one who have long put out enjoyable albums since their re-branding way back in 2005. While they may not be the most groundbreaking records, you know you will have fun when pressing play. The Poison Chalice, in turn, keeps this streak going, with yet another fun collection of thrash dipped in death metal.

While Legion Of The Damned's death thrash (derash? Threath?) retains its gritty, razor-sharp attack on The Poison Chalice, it has seen maturation in its sound compared to their inception over twenty years ago. "Skulls Adorn The Traitor's Gate" is the kind of track that will hook you in with its wild guitars and pounding drums, while "Contamination" will have your fists pounding the air. "Savage Intent" sees Van Geel and Verwejj produce a solo that balances thrash's chaotic energy with death metal's gut-punch force. Alongside the little flourishes that adorn tracks like "Beheading The Godhead", the duo ensure this album doesn't get lost in the shuffle. 

Fleuren is a whirlwind of energy on "Chimes Of Flagellation", his constant double bass storming away as the song races ahead like a muscle car at full rev. Fleuren's constant underpinning of tracks is what gives The Poison Chalice its power; he is the engine under the bonnet, while the rest of the band rely on him to provide a platform from which they can push off from. 

As mentioned prior, the band are adept at making good, enjoyable albums, yet they rarely go above and beyond this level of quality. The Poison Chalice is unfortunately no different, in that, as good as it is, the ceiling is quite low. "Retaliation" is, for example, a fun song, but nothing much more than that; it's almost blackened death sound is something that has been done better by other bands out there. It does not mean that you won't have fun listening to the album; just be aware that you are unlikely to hear the next classic metal track. 

Swinkel's vocals are again the weak link in the chain, sounding like the runt bastard child of Marcel Schmier and Martin Van Drunen, not able to produce the vocal power to convincingly lead the charge on tracks like "Progressive Destructor". As for "Skulls Adorn The Traitor's Gate", if you don't have the linear notes, then good luck understanding the rapid-fire verses. 

Legion Of The Damned once again produce another batch of death thrash tracks that will have you headbanging like a bobble head on a bumpy car journey. While it is unlikely to be an album of the year contender for many, The Poison Chalice will still provide fun and entertainment for those who give it a spin. 

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written on 25.05.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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