Infernal Legion
The Spear of Longinus

I wondered from time to time if Tacoma, WA’s Infernal Legion was ever going to release a follow up to 2005’s Your Prayers Mean Nothing, a slab of old school based, no-frills death metal that I thoroughly enjoyed. The wait now over, I found third full-length The Spear of Longinus to be an album that initially had me disappointed, but with time to absorb has me appreciating it a good deal more, even if I couldn’t quite go all-in with it.

Whereas Your Prayers Mean Nothing was more of a stomping, mid-tempo affair that recalled the groovier works of Immolation and Morbid Angel, The Spear of Longinus sees Infernal Legion raising its technical game and upping the speed. The guitar work is notably more complex and once you settle into the overall vibe you’ll find numerous moments of dazzling riff structures, fiery leads, and a certain level of diabolic melody that becomes more evident with each spin. Opener “Reborn Through Bloodshed” is a good example of all those elements, while tracks like “Dawn of the Last Day” offer strong changeups into, for example, doomy parts with dark melodic soloing. It is evident that the time between recordings was spent increasing skill levels and writing more challenging songs.

In an overall sense, what you’ll hear is a whirlwind of blasting, technically adept mayhem, which is also a reason why The Spears of Longinus takes some time to appreciate. The Benton-esque vocals of Josh Smith are undeniably fierce, but his patterning often feels out of sync with the music, resulting in moments that tend to detract from the impressive musicality. A case in point is the contrast between the grand iniquity of the attack and the vocal patterns of “The Immaculate Deception.” It’s not a huge problem and Smith’s hellish delivery fits into the overall miasma of evil and sonic terror concocted, but there is a frequent feeling of disjointedness. That and the need for more beef in the rhythm section sound makes The Spear of Longinus a bit more difficult to enjoy than should be the case, especially by the time you’ve reached the two-thirds mark at when the controlled chaos starts to drag.. As a result, this one took more spins than usual before I could pass final judgment. None of that should be taken as a damning assessment of Infernal Legion’s new long player, as there is still a lot to like about it. The Spear of Longinus just doesn’t grab me the way that Your Prayers Mean Nothing did, even though I can appreciate the compositional aspects and the firestorm of blasphemy on offer.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
December 20th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    “the contrast between the grand iniquity of the attack and the vocal patterns”

    I love that “grand iniquity” part… There should be a band named like that


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