A Bliss To Suffer
posted on 6/2009 By:
Previously unknown to this hack, Sweden’s The Legion have been putting out material for nearly a decade now including two prior full-lengths, and drummer Emil Dragutinovic (ex-Marduk, Devian) will be familiar to some. Produced entirely by the band themselves, A Bliss to Suffer is an interesting take on thrashy black metal that offers plenty in the way of raw, brutal nastiness frequently accompanied by orchestral elements, clean instrumentation and the use of effects. The songs here are reasonably lengthy with a range of time signatures employed. There is a distinctly Swedish sense of melody about The Legion, dripping with sorrow and anguish. The stylistic shifts and near-epic sensibilities of early numbers like “Shining Redemption” and “A Toil Beneath the Skin” aren’t instantly gratifying, but on repeat listens prove both effective and rewarding. The punchier, more straightforward likes of “Man-Beast” and “Blood, Be Gone!” provide a satisfying counterbalance with their catchiness and speed. Vocally, A Bliss to Suffer is varied and strong. Lazr Martinsson does the standard black metal snarl well enough, but also throws in some effective spoken/shouted lines that convey a genuine feeling of rage and despair. The contrast between the beastly growls and haunting choral vocals (particularly on “The Luring Depths”) is often quite striking.
A Bliss to Suffer has a few minor shortcomings. There are a few instances of riffs and/or passages that don’t quite sizzle with the same intensity and style of the album’s bulk. Some needless repetition also weakens otherwise strong tracks like “Call of the Nameless Black” and “A Curse for the Dead”. Where The Legion ultimately sits with you will depend largely on which shade of black you’re looking for. This is neither straight-up, raw black metal nor is it full-blown symphonic BM, and the way these guys hover between the two extremes won’t be to all tastes. Give it some time and your full attention though and A Bliss to Suffer comes into its own as an overall enjoyable and unique effort. Fans of Dissection, Dark Funeral etc. will probably want to seek this out.
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