When it comes the many subgenres of metal, some obviously seem to work together, and others well that’s a different article, and hence it brings us to Legion Of The Damned, which combines both thrash and death that is actually a common occurrence, that doesn’t’ mean it’s something one should overlook, far from that notion, rather this latest creation “Slaves Of The Shadow Realm” sinks its fangs and not letting go until you’re a slave their music. The riff infused music unleashes occult meanings and deathly anger by this Dutch band, that some recalled used the name Occult first in 1992 but changed it in 2005 realizing it found a broader audience. Of course in those 14-years nothing remained the same and in fact suffered through having over 25 line-ups changes and yet still lives that’s serious dedication to their music and craft. After a 5-year break they released this as their seventh album on the prestigious label Naplam Records with incredible artwork done by Gyula Havancsák combining horrific moments and morbid overtones.

Upon listening to this album, one might think they are listening to early version of Destruction in some portions, but that’s that distinct black and thrash sound with the drums sounding like war tempo chanting. The opening track ‘The Widows Breed’ sets out to hammer the listening with phenomenal speed and heavy riffing rather than showing a rawness, this style repeats itself on the seventh-track ‘Slaves of the Southern Cross”, focuses on speed and virtuosity, toned-down, heavy/thrash guitar lines and a less bombastic, rawer experience. However if you seek the wildly instrumental sections with brutality then headbanging to ‘Nocturnal Commando’ and ‘Charnel Confession’ in back to back tracks delivers that soreness to your neck muscles very quickly. That all important 5th track, on so many albums it’s considered the make or break it going unleashing insanity onward, or those open three were all they had to offer, fret not because ‘Warhounds of Hades’ feels as if they took their entire history and summoned all the anger, hatred, and suffering into the music and lyrics and slammed into your face like steel tip boots grinding your guts. In other words F.O.A.D. if you can’t handle what they deliver to you metal fans! Finishing the 9-song album out is the blitzes audio assault ‘Dark Coronation/Outro’ with more stinging riffs, and meaningful lyrics to penetrate your skulls.

I must note that this review is of the standard full length album released on January 4, 2019, the reason to note, one can guess there are multiple version of it that contain other tracks and versions. One this same date a 12” vinyl; as well as digital on Bandcamp, but it’s the Midiabook (CD and DVD) issue contains two additional tracks ‘Priest Hunt’ and ‘Azazel’s Crown’ and hence cannot report of the sound of these tracks, thought likely incredible like the rest of the album.

Track Listing:

The Widows Breed

Nocturnal Commando

Charnel Confession

Slaves of the Southern Cross

Warhounds of Hades

Black Banners in Flames

Shadow Realm of the Demonic Mind

Palace of Sin

Dark Coronation / Outro


Band Members:

Erik Fleuren – Drums

Maurice Swinkels – Vocals

Harold Gielen – Bass

Twan van Geel – Guitars

This album is thoroughly insane, unleashes all degrees of thrashing and successfully combining it with death metal, using experienced vocals (yes a few required growls) behind the lyrics, while the music clearly supports the violent aggressive sound throughout all the songs. There’s no question you shouldn’t just own the digital format but also breakdown buy the actual CD version, though if doing the latter definitely get the version with the two additional tracks.

Baron’s Rating: 4.5/5.0

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