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Class 6(66)

Deicide: Legion

26/10/12  ||  Sokaris

Introduction

“Legion” is an extremely frustrating album in a strange sort of way. It really has nothing to do with the album itself as I consider it an absolutely magnificent and still rather unique expression of rhythmic, evil ass old school death metal. The frustration lies in the fact that this album shows an interesting progression from disc number one. A huge potential world of death metal the “Legion” way awaited for Deicide from here on out. The reality of the situation, however, was that “Legion” had basically no bearing on Deicide’s evolution (it should be noted that the band almost immediately ceased to play songs from this album live by the next touring cycle) and third album “Once upon the cross” was more of a follow-up to the debut. Though the band has managed to eke out a couple more classics after “Legion”, this particular release stands as the most challenging but rewarding listen, a pinnacle example of a lot of the swirling, chaotic elements that made death metal its own genre.

Songwriting

10. Ultra-syncopated demonic rhythms drive almost every moment. Tumultuous, tsunamic and hellishly exhausting, “Legion” derives its strength from managing to create catchy riffs in uncommon time signatures with percussive accents in strange places. It’s a smart album without trying to sound smart. To the metallically inexperienced, this is a mess. To the completely uninitiated, this is offensive. But that’s because it represents death metal incarnate, pure unadulterated aggression tempered with instrumental ambition and musical muscle.

Production

9. I generally love the way Scott Burns handles drums in death metal, thick, low and pounding. This is complemented with the diabolical guitar, huge vocal presence and gurgling bass. You can hear everything clearly without any sacrifice to heaviness.

Guitars

9. The only complaint I could muster here is there’s a lack of melodic diversity as the guitars tend to stick together on the bigger frets, crunching along. However, this album doesn’t really need “melodic diversity” and does just fine without. The riffs are instantly engaging but the little riffing nuances bring you back for more. The solos are Sepultura-esque but the riffing is wholly Deicide. I think the Hoffmans could’ve attempted to utilize both guitars separately more (such as on “In hell in burn”) to push the complexity even more.

Vocals

9. Another sterling performance from Glen Benton in his prime, similar to last time sans the vocal effects. Interestingly there’s actually a note in the booklet directed to critics revealing as much. While normally I prefer a relatively unfucked with voice in my death metal, the self-titled debut from Deicide was a rare example of using processing and post-production effects well and a small part of me actually misses those moments.

Bass

7. Bass doesn’t venture out on its own but I don’t really think there’s room in these songs for something like that anyway. It genuinely shocks me that Glen was ever able to keep up with these lines considering how lazily he played when I was witness to a (thankfully uncancelled) Deicide performance a few years back.

Drums

9. Steve, goddamn… just, goddamn. Just playing along to these compositions would be a huge challenge, let alone adding so much maniacal speediness and Lombardo-esque character to the music. Insanity-driven blasting (“Trifixion”), ultra-syncopated grooves (“Satan spawn, the caco-daemon”) and cascading fillwork throughout all make up Asheim’s repertoire of rhythm.

Lyrics

5. A 6 would seem more appropriate but I have to take off a point for words like “repention” and the phrase “to be forgave.”

Cover art

2. This looks like the front of a shitty mid-90’s PC game. Someone was just enamored with the idea of 3D imaging and didn’t care that it didn’t look good.

Logo

4. A little smaller, still red, still in the same spot, still not that awesome of a logo.

Booklet

3. Cool band shot on the back but the booklet folds out to give us a much better look at the corny computer rendered symbol featured on the front (minus the fisheye effect).

Overall and ending rant

Although sadly not indicative of Decide’s future, “Legion” showed the band maturing, evolving and ultimately matching the debut in terms of immaculate songwriting conception. Still just as hooky, but this time the riffing and percussive vocal lines are wrapped around a jagged skeleton that managed to introduce more unorthodox technicality without sacrificing any of the essential fury that defined the band’s debut.

10

  • Information
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Website: Deicide MySpace
  • Band
  • Glen Benton: vocals, bass
  • Eric Hoffman: guitars
  • Brian Hoffman: guitars
  • Steve Asheim: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Satan spawn, the caco-daemon
  • 02. Dead but dreaming
  • 03. Repent to die
  • 04. Trifixion
  • 05. Behead the prophet (No lord shall live)
  • 06. Holy deception
  • 07. In hell I burn
  • 08. Revocate the agitator