Home > Music > Deicide – Legion (1992)

Deicide – Legion (1992)

folderIt’s cliche to describe extreme metal as an assault, but Legion really is an extreme metal assault. I mean, this isn’t a contemplative experience that just so happens to have death growls. On this album, Deicide strikes a delicate (if feral sounding) balance between the rhythmic abilities of a band like Suffocation and the melodic development of a band like Morbid Angel and don’t spend much time developing an atmosphere of more than violence and hate. It makes sense – a Deicide show must’ve been quite the spectacle in the early ’90s, between the aggressive music and frontman Glen Benton threatening to kill himself in a couple of years.

Death metal’s roots in speed/thrash metal are especially apparent on this recording. Mind you, this seems to have underwent the same process of first being stripped down to its barest essence and then having new, more elaborate ideas brought into replace them.  Legion therefore manifests as a series of sparse but lengthy interlocking guitar, bass, and drum riffs with vocals from someone who does a very good job of altering his rhythmic patterns to suit his backing. Velocities are almost always lightning fast, even though Legion‘s tempos have been surpassed again and again since this album’s initial release. Needless to say, the album’s sound is also influential – you can label it as clean if you approve, sterile if you don’t, but definitely a sound that’s been imitated over the years. It’d been done a few times before – Massacra’s debut comes to mind, as does Morbid Angel’s… although the latter emphasizes melody more and has a wider variety of tempos.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Legion‘s construction is that it relies very heavily on its riffs being hooky enough to stick inside your head. That kind of happens when you get down to this level of minimalism, but Deicide manages to pull it off. Part of this is that the guitarists on this album (the Hoffman Brothers) seem to be in perfect mental sync; one bit of trivia I’ve heard is that they panned the guitars so that by listening to only the left or right channel one can get a different perspective on what’s going on. This and the aforementioned Benton-vocals seem to explain why Legion works more effectively than its simple ingredients would lead me to believe. While things are clearly executed on a more than competent level, there’s an unexplained factor here that makes this work much stronger than I’d otherwise expect. If I ever figure it out, I might stealth-edit this post to discuss it.

Highlights: “Satan Spawn, The Caco Daemon”, “Trifixion”, “Revocate the Agitator”


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