Friday, January 6, 2012

Legion of Doom - For Those of the Blood (1997)

For Those of the Blood is the second full-length album from Legion of Doom. Released in 1997, this album may be responsible for the fact that the band never rose to the same level of notoriety as fellow Greek bands such as Rotting Christ or Necromantia. Rather than develop more of their own style, or even to adopt the type of approach that was being utilized by many in the Hellenic Black Metal scene, Legion of Doom continued to take their cues from the northern lands and made some of the same mistakes.

One cannot find many flaws in the songwriting department. As it compares to Kingdom of Endless Darkness, the basic material is in the same vein. However, there is much less of a Burzum influence on this record. Instead, most of the tremolo riffs and rapid drumming seem inspired by early Darkthrone, primarily, as well as Emperor and a few others from Norway. While it is not, necessarily, a bad thing that they still followed the lead of their Scandinavian heroes. This album introduces a very strong symphonic element that waters down the atmosphere and gives it a rather cheesy feeling. The synth is overused and done in an improper manner to begin with, taking away any possibility that the song had to maintain a dark feeling. Furthermore, the actual riffs are much more generic and less memorable. "Messenger..." manages to stand out among the rest of the average and mediocre tracks, mostly due to being more straightforward and placing the emphasis back on the guitars, where it belongs. "Κυρες" would be included in that, as well, but the percussion overpowers the riffs, at times. Legion of Doom still employed a drum machine, at this point, and they did not seem concerned with making sure it was buried in the mix.

As for the rest of the production, the overall sound is a little cleaner than on the previous album. The guitar tone, especially, lacks the raw edge that it possessed on Kingdom of Endless Darkness and loses a bit of character as a result. It comes off as a bit more smooth and polished, though it is still far from drowning in the typical modern, plastic sound. It actually sounds rather necro, if one compares it to an album like Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, for example. The drum machine is too high, taking a bit of the attention away from the guitar riffs. The grim vocals are still right where they should be, in relation to the guitars.

Skipping the instrumentals, there is less than half an hour of music on this album. Of that material, a good deal of it is tainted by symphonic nonsense that does nothing to add to the dark feeling that should have been the main goal of For Those of the Blood. In the end, this record represents a drop in quality from its predecessor. Less selective listeners may be able to look past its flaws, but I would say that this L.P. is somewhat disappointing and less worth the time to track down.