Known for years as OCCULT, Holland's LEGION OF THE DAMNED decided on a name change a while back and have now released their fourth album, "Cult of the Dead". Talk about sticking to your guns! The band continues to create blackened thrash metal that stays with a fundamental songwriting method that relies almost exclusively on early SLAYER and, to a lesser extent, KREATOR.Fans of the group will find nothing about which to bitch on the new release, which assumes that you're OK with a virtually unchanging attack from beginning to end — the occasional choral/keyboard piece notwithstanding. Much like KREATOR, the songs are written in a predictable format that will have you guessing the vocal pattern on the chorus before it even hits. That's not a bad thing, especially when the delivery burns this hot. It is all fire and brimstone riffing and acidic vocals all the time and for most folks that is all anyone would ask of LEGION OF THE DAMNED. There is no denying the hellish groove of a song like the title track or "Pray and Suffer", two examples of an approach that rides the main riff and predictably ups the heaviness when the double-bass kicks a hole in the woofer. No one can question the ruthlessness of these songs and the fuck-progression attitude of "Cult of the Dead". The problem that resurfaces is songwriting that never really reaches crescendo, a couple of minor exceptions aside. Expanding on the theme just a pinch would make an enormous difference. It is not a question of dislike by any stretch of the imagination, just a bit too much of the same thing. A better than acceptable effort nonetheless.
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