Blasfeme - Official Website

Black Legion

United Kingdom Country of Origin: United Kingdom

1. Purified By The High Flames Of Hell
2. Wolves Of Karpathia
3. Čachtice 1611
4. Ritualistic Exsanguination
5. Czernobog
6. Black Legion
7. Bound By The Blood Upon Our Swords

Review by Vladimir on June 17, 2024.

When it comes to black metal music, it always varies from person to person what they fancy the most in terms of style, atmosphere and lyrical themes, but I personally always had a thing for bands and albums which really have a certain dark age vibe to it. As much as satanic, occult and anti-christian themes are considered edgy and provocative, I think that the dark medieval subjects are probably the most unpleasant and terrifying, more-so than your typical ghost stories or anything paranormal. For me personally, real terror comes from real events, especially the historic events that were recorded and have become widespread throughout the ages, and our main subject exactly deals with these kinds of violent and death-defying themes. In this review, I will be taking a look at the UK black metal band Blasfeme from Bristol, England, with their second full-length album Black Legion which is due to be released on July 12th, 2024 via Wulfhere Productions. Draw your maces and sharpen your blades, it's time to unleash massacre.

As the marching rhythm and heavy metal melodies nicely build up the anticipation of the forthcoming destruction, it would not take long until the Hungarian-Ottoman wars commence with steel, bloodshed and carnage, as Blasfeme provides a very primitive and dark medieval form of black metal. It is indeed a very unsettling and extreme output that becomes gradually heavier as the album progresses, showcasing some standard musical formulas such as tremolo picking riffs, broken chords, blast beats and bloodcurdling harsh vocals, combined with some occasional doomy Celtic Frost styled riffing and mid-tempo drumming, which together form a quite rich musical cocktail. Although the music is stylistically very typical for black metal, without introducing anything extraordinary or unusual, it is nonetheless very engaging from start to finish and quite successful in maintaining your constant attention by throwing plenty of nice riff ideas and melodies that keep the strong and steady flow of the album. A couple of tracks like 'Czernobog' and 'Black Legion' could easily be considered as exemplary for being the most interesting out of the bunch, and I might consider them as personal highlights from the entire tracklist due to the high entertainment factor that they provide. What also compliments the musical output aside from the musicality is the eerie atmosphere which expresses various horrors and cruelties from the dark ages, varying from intense battles to the most gruesome tortures. It's no surprise considering that there are songs on the album that heavily center around count Ferenc Nádasdy, as well as his wife countess Erzsébet Báthori (Elizabeth Báthory), mostly evident on tracks such as 'Wolves Of Karpathia' and 'Čachtice 1611', where it thematically streches from their personal backgrounds to their wicked torture methods, all of which were very crucial events that left a big mark Hungarian history. If the album was successful at keeping you entertained all the way through, then I am pretty sure that you will definitely consider the acoustic outro track 'Bound By The Blood Upon Our Swords' as a very good conclusion to this dark medieval slaughter, especially because its musical magnificence further compliments the album's everlasting strengths.

Songwriting-wise, the album has a lot of simplistic and straightforward deliveries in terms of the standard black metal musical ideas, but on the other hand it does have a lot of dynamics in the songs as well, which make the songs feel incredibly rich and expressive. I think that Black Legion wins a lot of points for me due to its stylistic consistency from start to finish, without ever feeling thin or dry even as you get into the second half of the album, but where it really won me over is the fact that the music radiates such atmosphere full of darkness and suspense, to the point where you can visually picture the historical events that this album deselves into. For example, the third track 'Čachtice 1611' had a very unsettling violin intro that nicely captured the crimes and atrocities committed by countess Bathory, which was further built upon with the merciless and relentless black metal performance of Blasfeme, plus at on point you can hear a sound of a whip crack and woman's scream in agony which echo as if you are a servant passing by the corridor walls while hearing these terrifying noises. One of the main reasons why I got so curious to check out this album is because of the cover art, which depicts the infamous Black Army of Hungary coat of arms, along with an added background of decapitated heads on stakes and a burned village, and I have to say that this visual representation nicely captures the musical essence that Blasfeme expressed on the entire Black Legion album. Production-wise, it has a very moderately raw sound with an added cave reverb, which is stylistically close to bands like Negative Plane, Funereal Presence and Malokarpatan, but overall does a good job at capturing the intensity and extremity.

In the end, I can safely say that I was very pleased how Black Legion turned out as a whole and it is without a doubt a journey worth experiencing. These days I rarely come across any black metal albums which express such darkness and savagery through the music, but on the other hand, Blasfeme's final result is an exemplary album that belongs in this aforementioned seldom seen category. Thanks to their raw and intense energy, Black Legion proved itself to be very effective with its simplicity and consistency, and I think you are going to enjoy it if you are into bands like early Gorgoroth, Satyricon, Negative Plane and such.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10