Back in 2004, when LEGION OF THE DAMNED rose from the ashes of OCCULT in the Dutch city of Venlo, the music scene yearned for pure and brutal Thrash Metal. In 2005, Maurice Swinkels (vocals), Erik Fleuren (drums), Twan Fleuren (bass) and Richard Ebisch (guitar) teamed up with producer Andy Classen and entered his Stage-One-Studio (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany) in order to record »Malevolent Rapture« - a real classic of Euro-Thrash!
About eight busy and productive years later, the quartet comes full circle and releases their latest album »Ravenous Plague« which harkens back to their phenomenal debut. Twan Van Geel took over the guitar duties from Richard Ebisch who was stressed out by the numerous tours and excels on »Ravenous Plague« with his skills on the six string. Van Geel presents himself much more diversely than his predecessor. He doesnt focus solely on pure riff brutality, but enriches the aggressive LEGION sound with delicate details. No previous album features that many leads, tempo changes and solos. Hein Willekens joins LEGION OF THE DAMNED on stage as their second guitarist. All these changes are examples of the newly lit fire and new found strength of the Dutch, who almost collapsed creatively with »Descent Into Chaos« (2011). The album was produced by Peter Tägtgren and showed consistency on a high level, but it was not a real step forward. The latter was more evident on »Cult Of The Dead« (2008) which was more diverse and darker than extremely brutal »Sons Of The Jackal« (2007). A special moment in the history of the band was the re-recording of the final OCCULT album »Elegy For The Weak«, which was released under the LEGION-Banner as »Feel The Blade« in 2008. Frequent chart entries and worldwide tours are a constant companion in the career of LEGION OF THE DAMNED, and this years shows in Chile, Brazil and Argentina are undoubtedly highlights in the bands history.
However, also strokes of fate are part of their career. Twan Fleuren, who was already replaced by Harold Gielen in 2006, commited suicide on May 20 2011. The band dedicated the re-release of »Malevolent Rapture« (2012) to his memory. The re-release included numerous bonus material and a DVD.
2014 might prove to be yet another pivotal year for LEGION OF THE DAMNED, because »Ravenous Plague« makes it more than clear that the evolution of the band is far from over. The return to Andy Classen was a great move, as nobody else knows the band better than his renowned producer. The intro was done by the famous composer Jo Blankenburg, who wrote music for blockbusters such as »Harry Potter«, »X-Men« or »300: Rise Of An Empire«. Wes Benscoter delivered the great artwork, and has already worked for bands like SLAYER, KREATOR, HYPOCRISY and many more. There is a storm brewing in the camp of LEGION OF THE DAMNED, and it wont be silenced anytime soon. Face the storm and let the renewed LEGION OF THE DAMNED blow you away!
Patrick Schmidt / Rock Hard Germany October 2013