The rumbling frenzy induced thrashing of an onward approaching tank can be heard in the distance, just beyond the hill to the fore. The crumbling of debris beneath the enormous treads intermingles with the metallic quaking of gears to form a symphony of carnage even Bach could not have composed. As the iron beast reaches the apex of the hill a blindly courageous civilian makes a dash from an outcropping of stone, attempting to cross the battered street and seek shelter in the somewhat intact hotel only 20 yards away. Before the nameless bystander crosses the finish line they are struck dumb with terror as the destructive force of armour picks up speed, blindsiding the young fellow and shattering his hip as well as several ribs. Before the civilian can recover he has already been devoured by the starving abomination which manages to only partially satisfy its quelling desire, giving the dilapidated road a fresh coat of red.
This is the hairy position a listener is placed in when attempting to escape the iron grip of INFERNAL LEGION. This onslaught has recently signed a 3 album contract with Moribund Records and has already set into motion an apocalyptic future which can only be surpassed and expanded upon with future work. This is Death Metal of old with fury of new which comes across as fresh and nostalgic at the same time. Albums like this bring to the fore the notion that Death Metal still has something to offer and still can be enjoyed like it is the early 90’s.
Eric Armstrong and Doug Stern are the driving forces of this project. Their axe-work carves great swathes through the enemy’s lines, piercing the air with feeble screams and blood-splattered riffs of utter satisfaction. The sheer variety in tempos utilized in forging the strong riffs is what is immediately overwhelming and what ultimately keeps the album fresh throughout a 30 minute lifespan. Opener “Frenzy The Legion”, which just so happens to be about the strongest titled song of this millennium, is a slow and brooding opener which sheds visions of insanity and aggression itself amassing as a huge force ready to sweep the countryside. The driving doom-tinged riffing is simplistic yet over-the-top and completely satisfying. In stark contrast, “Your Prayers Mean Nothing” screams forth next as the legion descends upon its victims tearing limb from limb. This second track is furious with unrelenting double bass and a thundering low end that rivals none. This is the variety we love presented with riffs that we love coming together to form music we love.
The strength behind the kit is readily recognizable as well. Justin Thomas is a dominating presence which keeps things relatively simple while maintaining a flair of dynamic that is spot on. He does not suffer from the crippling stigma of double bass obsession and, despite the fact that he is over reliant on his snare, offers a plethora of unique patterns which prove quite tasty. I also love the sound of the deadened snare and bass utilized and it is nice to see a lack of triggers, or at least triggers that are not immediately noticeable. Combining with Thomas in buffering the low-end is bassist and back up vocalist Rick Powell. The bass lines are difficult to make out but are fairly interesting if one puts forth the patience and determination to find them.
The main-man behind the mic is vocalist Josh Smith who belts out patterns with ease. The style formalized reminds me a bit of Chris Barnes in his early days (compare this band to SFU and I will cut out your entrails). They are quite enjoyable but suffer from a lack of true identity and depth. This is made-up for wholesale due to the riff selection and strength of the compositions themselves, which is where your attention should be focused anyway.
Where this release fails to achieve genius is the opposite side of the double-edged sword that is this outfit’s guitar department. While all the riffs utilized are quality, there is a distinct lack of variety. As I have explained earlier, there is a strong variety in tempo and dynamic; the problem is the lack of quantity and variety of actual riffs. For instance, “Forest Of The Disease” could easily have been bolstered with a mix of 4 or 5 stronger riffs which would have alleviated some of the slumping middle parts and added another element to the music at hand. Many of the tracks are like this and part of me yearns for a wider selection of riffs. This, in the end, is somewhat forgivable due to the strength of what we are dealt. The second thing which bothers me is the lack of solos/leads. This is not “St. Anger” and many of the tracks scream from melodic flavoured brutal leads. Due to this sore lacking the band fails to take that extra step and bump this album up into the truly magnificent spectrum.
Despite a couple minor flaws “Your Prayers Mean Nothing” is quite a strong release. I must say that I have been doubly impressed with all the old-school Death Metal projects populating the contemporary scene (barring a couple glaring asides). Once again, Moribund is on the ball and has recruited a strong group of guys which will split skulls and shine in the years to come. Check out INFERNAL LEGION and let your ear drums bleed, loving every second of it. (Online October 8, 2005)