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Legion Estland

I have to confess wondering about this Estonian band´s message, as they´re all dressed in militaristic garb, and some of the symbolism in the illegible band logo is questionable based on the bio´s mentions of Estonian National Pride and Iron Youth, though the songs´ lyrics are said to deal exclusively with Balto-Scandinavian mythology, so whether or not the flirtations with such visuals are simply aesthetic is beyond me. That being said, this is fairly good for what it is, which is basically straightforward black metal with smatterings of keyboards for added atmosphere. Included on this promo are the tracks from three 7" releases (some of which may not have been released on vinyl just yet): "Legion Estland" (2002), "Raiugem Ruunideks" (2003), and "Meeste Muusika" (2004). Like many Estonian bands that I´ve heard, I find this material to be fairly straightforward and true to the genre´s roots, but creative in its own right, enough to offer a few unexpected twists and turns. Take for instance the dark ambient noise of the brief "Terasvanne", which acts as an intro to the excellent "Furor Aesticus", which combines plodding Darkthrone styled chord progressions with melodic layers and quirkier patterns/note choices ala Norwegian "modern purists" like Khold. In "Demons Night" some traditional metal influences creep into the mix, which continues in some later songs to a lesser degree. One of the most powerful moments on the disc is the gradual transition from distorted guitars to acoustic guitars (coupled with excellent drum fills) at the tail end of "Raiugem Ruunideks"; and newer compositions like "Soomepoiss" continue such superb uses of acoustic guitars with slightly more creative distorted chords and even some strange singing vocals at times. By and large the tempos have that driving sort of consistency that I enjoy in traditional styled black metal, only occasionally venturing into speedier territory, and overall the screaming vocals are pretty standard, at times dropping back to spoken lines or layering against sneering textures. The recording quality of course changes with each session, where the older work is oddly a bit clearer (though the guitar tone needs more natural warmth due to its unnatural bite). They always nail a good bass presence, and most of the time the keyboards are very faint and not disruptive (only when certain patches are a bit less textural and almost "folky" are they out of sorts). The drumming sounds solid, and there are no real problems across the board. It´s definitely better than average for black metal. The sound on the later records is thicker, with the second 7" having the most effective mix (the newest session is a bit muddy and the drums are a little thinner). The CD-R comes in a professionally printed black and white sleeve with decent artwork and some odd band photos, as well as a brief bio about the band. No lyrics are included (and none of the titles are in English). Fans of straight up black metal who appreciate moderate tempos should definitely be able to appreciate this. I really enjoy the constant subtle melodic influences and the energy of the drumming a lot, so this band could wind up being quite an intriguing beast. I sincerely hope their flirtation with the aforementioned fascistic symbolism is strictly aesthetic, I´m not necessarily confident that that´s the case, but this is a very strong sampling of material nonetheless. I would suggest the band get rid of the "singing" as it´s quite weak and serves no purpose, and the keyboards could use slight refining as well, but core is splendid as far as writing and performances go - "true" in its rawness but powerful in style and delivery. Not bad. I´m definitely interested.

Zine: Aversionline

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