posted on 10/2011 By:
Sweet wind-surfing Moses, has it really been seven years since these Norsk bastards dropped Desert Northern Hell? Now, hold on, before you get your fact-checking nerd rage in full flush, it’s mostly a rhetorical question, because I know the band had broken up and just reformed last year. Still, such was the hypnotic and ferocious power of Desert Northern Hell as it continued kicking my ass over the past seven years that time took on strange properties, causing me to forget just how sorely the world needed a new Tsjuder record. Well, world, Tsjuder has heard your need and delivered a devastating roundhouse to your collective solar plexus.
Legion Helvete is no-frills-and-no-fucking-shit black metal in the grandest tradition of Bathory, early Immortal, Gorgoroth, Urgehal, Arckanum, Taake, and so on. (Although, come to think of it, Tsjuder is such polished raw perfection that it makes even the likes of Taake seem a bit, well, sensitive in comparison.) This is a band for whom the word ‘progressive’ is just the name of an insurance company, because really, who in the piss-thrashing hell needs progression when you can bring the riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiffs? Even so, there is occasional nuance in this not-so-subtle knifing - check out the funky cymbal work early on “Voldsherskeren” that gives some added spice to the sound of insistently throttled rhythm guitar necks, or the closing of “Slakt,” which is punctuated by the unmistakably melodious tones of a chainsaw (gutsfuck not included).
Tsjuder never quite lets up enough of the full-on blasting to enter the realm of black/thrash, but the aggressive and always jumpy rhythmic bite of Legion Helvete has clearly supped from the fetid table of the grimiest, gnarliest thrashing mad lunatics. But most importantly, let it never be said that the Norwegians suffer from an enthusiasm gap. The flesh-shredding vocal profanations sound like bassist and vocalist Nag finished French-kissing an active volcano maybe five minutes before laying down his tracks. AntiChristian’s drums clatter, rattle, and buzz just like I want them to, while Draugluin’s guitars sit down into fat grooves momentarily before springing off into tendonitis-begging flights of simple but lightning-fast jingle-jangling. As further demonstration of Tsjuder’s fuck-you-and-then-some orthodoxy, apart from the heightened sense of space it gains during scattered sections of groovy midpaced licks (see the middle of “Voldsherskeren” or the cellar-dredging stabs toward the end of “Blod og Aske”), Nag’s bass guitar is felt rather than heard.
Unlike Ravencult’s Morbid Blood (with which it deserves to be spoken of in the same blood-mad tones), which cleared a swath of destruction through an ingenious ability to combine different styles of black metal in one nasty cocktail, Legion Helvete’s ability to stay live and vital throughout its run-time comes not so much from different styles of black metal as from clever variations on straight-ahead blasting black metal. That is, instead of going from black/thrash to dense and roiling modern orthodox black to melancholic passages of sweeping tremolo, Tsjuder’s frequent switch-ups find the band going from face-through-plate-glass black metal to driving-a-car-into-a-wall black metal to punching-oneself-in-the-damn-mouth black metal. You know, all the old classics.
If there’s anything really to be faulted with Legion Helvete, it’s that the album tries a bit too transparently to hew to the formula of Desert Northern Hell, particularly in having a lengthy closer (discounting Desert Northern Hell’s cracking cover of Bathory’s “Sacrifice”) that contemplates getting a bit moody before deciding, hell, on second thought, let’s rip some fucking throats out. Particularly vicious is the martial snare action on “Vårt Helvete” that kicks the rest of the band pitilessly forward. Nevertheless, Desert Northern Hell was such a soul-flayingly hot album that if the band’s only real fault is to have tried to duplicate its merciless destruction and to wind up falling the tiniest hair’s breadth short in the evisceration department, then bring it the hell on. If you haven’t yet caught on, this is the kind of album that erases most of my vocabulary, leaving behind only a tantrum of cusses and various synonyms for “ear-meltingly awesome.” So, in polite and humble closing, I invite you, gentle reader, TO KISS MY FUCKING ASS AND LISTEN TO THIS GODDAMN ALBUM RIGHT FUCKING NOW AND THEN GET THE FUCK OVER HERE AND FIGHT ME WHILE WE JAM THIS AUDITORY-CANAL-LIQUEFYINGLY TREMENDOUS ALBUM, YOU SHIT-PISSING PILE OF FUCK-BISCUITS.
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