Deathless Legacy - The Gathering - (4/10)
Published on February 26, 2016
Oh boy. I’m rarely this frustrated when writing reviews. But after having stared at a blank computer screen for as long as I have and not having written anything other than a bunch of pejorative phrases peppered with various shades of profanity, I’m just going to cut to the chase.
This album sucks.
My only concern with starting a review out like this is that I want my reviews to be read, and putting that at the beginning of a review might just end up accomplishing the exact opposite of that. But getting that out of the way, I will try to be as interesting as possible in describing what may be one of the worst attempts at heavy metal I’ve heard in a long time.
Believe it or not, Deathless Legacy apparently started off as a Death SS tribute band. This is curious because with such a great band as an influence, one can only wonder why at some point they decided to abandon the concept of playing listenable music and forage into the realm of campy horror-themed tripe that is most easily characterised by a combination of the worst aspects of Huntress and Within Temptation. If you take a heaping portion of Jill Janus’ tryhard approach to vocals and another equal measure of Sharon den Adel’s frilly goth melodrama, you’ll have enough product on hand to either open a veritable cheese emporium or produce this record.
The album opens up with a beautiful a capella intro performed in the style of Latin/Roman liturgical music. In terms of musical quality independent of genre, this little snippet is the best part of the entire album, because afterward, it’s pretty much a downward spiral into silliness. From there all the way to the end, the mix is a consistent mesh of bizarre incongruities of oddly-placed breakdowns and downtuned palm-muted chugs. To make matters worse, right underneath the atrocious vocals are layers of synths and goofy sound effects that are thick enough to obscure most of the riffs on the album.
I would be remiss if I didn’t list some of the album’s unintentionally hilarious highlights (if you can call them that). The first is the opening track after the intro, entitled “Circus of the Freaks”, which starts off with what sounds like an ice cream truck’s loop track. But this isn’t the worst of it by a long shot. The real treat is when the vocalist breaks into her very best turkey imitation. I burst into laughter as I heard her belt out “Gaba-gaba-gaba-gaba” over and over again. This simply has to be heard to be believed.
Another great one is the Hammond organ solo in the “Graveyard” track, which is about as out-of-place and incongruous as you can get. It’s like a Benny Goodman clarinet solo smack dab in the middle of the “Kyrie” of Bach’s Mass in B-minor. The last one I’ll mention is the entire closing track, entitled “Skeleton Swing”. And maybe this is an unfair jab because – after all – they clearly intended to mix elements of swing into a metal song. But in the end, that doesn’t really diminish the experience of aural torture. Cornflakes doused in piss won’t taste any better just because the fellow responsible for it did it with prior intent.
Look, I’m not saying that there aren’t people who could enjoy this kind of music. There may be plenty of folks out there for whom this is their bread-and-butter. But I’m certainly not one of them.