Legions of Crows [UK]
Funeral Rain Records
Black/doom metal is one genre that I seldom encounter, with one of the few other bands that I have listened to that play this variant of black or doom metal being Canada’s Woods of Ypres. Stab Me then, is my first encounter with UK blackened doom metal band, Legions of Crows, and having seen how bands like the aforementioned Woods of Ypres has managed to fuse these 2 genres together seamlessly, Stab Me would personally, certainly be an interesting listen.
Introductory track Provident Hymn/Malediction transports listeners into a chapel, almost reminding listeners of Ghost, with the organs that are playing in the background, though the clean singing slightly spoils the mood, and while on surface the track provides a sense of calm, underlying this calm is a sinister feel with the distorted vocals beneath the cleans. Without warning, the band introduces listeners to their brand of music, with a heavy, yet fuzzy guitar tone, backed by heavy hits on the programmed drums and the inhuman, tortured shrieks of Attila, before the music suddenly goes back to the original hymn, only this time backed by other instruments like the drums and guitars. The spoken vocals at the end of the track almost tricks the listener into thinking that this would be a pleasant ride, only that once what is spoken is deciphered, one knows that Stab Me would be an interesting journey ahead.
Legions of Crows on the album has managed to successfully fused elements of both black and doom metal together. The guitar riffs that are present by Herod are heavy, often presenting listeners with slow, chugging sections, and the solos are also often presented in an unexpected style, being some of the faster moments that are present on the album, and at times even remind listeners of solos that Tony Iommi would have written. Attila’s vocals also manage to send chills down the listener’s spines, with his screechy, high-pitched shrieks and the decision to utilise such a vocal style certainly helps to put the album in the right mood. The slow pace that the band tends to travel at also at times remind listeners of bands like Black Sabbath, with the intro of tracks like Defecate leaving listeners almost anticipating a song like Iron Man. On the same track, the usage of keyboards also help to keep up the false calm front, and helps to keep up the atmosphere of the track at the same time.
Songs are also structured and hidden with unexpected moments, constantly catching the listener unaware and surprising him. Songs like Fellating the Lamb begin slow, but without warning the band speeds up and slows down again, though it is easy to miss such moments as the listener is easily put into a trance by the almost ritualistic music on the album. The numerous transitions and quirky moments on these songs also keep things interesting throughout. There is also the spoken track Carrion Pond Drove, complete with the usage of sounds of ravens at the background, signifying the themes of death and putrefaction. The melodies on songs like Dull Grey even makes for some depressive and melancholic moments on the album as well, providing an emotional touch to the music.
However, the album falters on a few fronts, with one of the main complaints being the usage of programmed drums. For the most part, this could be hard to tell, but on some parts of the album, the synthetic sound of the drums start to get slightly irritating, like on Defecate, causing the enjoyment of the album to be affected, and this could have been resolved easily had the band included a real drummer on the album, though the whole raw and almost industrial sound could have been what the band was going for. Also, the long track lengths on some of the tracks could also lead to listeners to blank out easily, losing focus on the songs. Fortunately though, the band often makes up for this with superb songwriting and musicianship, making the album an overall pretty enjoyable one if one is in the mood for some dark and heavy music.