Legion of the Damned - _Sons of the Jackal_
(Massacre Records, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (
Not much to go on biographically -- a quick Google search provides a wealth of info on a presumably coincidental ensemble from the "Warhammer 40K" RPG, but little else -- yet as it turns out, anonymity suits these chaps just fine. I'm sure a lot of work went into _Sons of the Jackal_, but unfortunately 2007 finds the band welcoming the ADD crowd at the expense of legacy building. Forgettable tune after forgettable tune belies the fact that Legion of the Damned do in fact have a lot going their way, including respectable chops (the drummer in particular really deserves a better band) and as expansive and spotless a production job as it ever really gets at this level -- pretty much a II-A collegiate ballgame if there ever was one.We'll forget the fact that the hybrid of Schuldiner-esque vox and throwback thrash riffs is not in and of itself an inspired choice. When it comes to the actual execution, LotD perform at a skill level indicative of scene veterans rather than a rookie tribute band, but that doesn't excuse the songwriting itself, a languishing rut of pilfered riffs and rapid, if monotonous, pacing. "Atomicide" and "Ten Horns Arise" kick things into a higher gear near the end of the album, but by then it's all become just so much sonic wallpaper.Because of the overall lack of progression from one track to the next (and dearth of guitar solos or extended breakdowns), each song has to more or less rely on the strength of its chorus. Alas, of the ten tracks present there are only a couple that have any legs. The aforementioned "Ten Horns Arise" is bolstered by a slow-chant singalong that immediately invokes the genre granddaddies (i.e. Venom, early Slayer, etc.), and "Undead Stillborn" claws its way out of the morass to briefly smack the apathy out of your mouth, but the rest of the material is pretty much opening act deadweight all the way. I almost hate to run these guys down, as there's a wealth of potential to be found here, but until they advance beyond picking galloping triplets over the same few chord progressions, LotD will find themselves eternally warming the benches, no matter how fervently they dream of hitting one out of the park.
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