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Les Legiones Noires return! After four years of silence and speculation the oldest and greatest of the French Black Legions have returned with one of the finest black metal releases of the year, "Black Millenium". The band is now down to sole member Meyhna'ch (now going by his given name, "Wil Roussel"), and at first it seemed that the essence of the band had changed. A big part of the charm of early Mütiilation was the 'live' feel they had by recording on a 4- or 8-track in the rehearsal room, where you could hear the looseness and the room ambience, but the new album has a crisp, clean, digital-sounding recording quality with a plugged-in direct guitar sound and a drum machine. This put me off at first, but after a minute I noticed how sick it all sounds - almost like Wil didn't even bother trying to tweak sounds. The guitar sounds strangled in faster parts and really fuzzy and 'big' in the slower parts - almost over-distorted in a way. The vocal approach is different too - Wil trades his shrieking for a more grim-croak approach, not unlike the last two tracks from the "Remains..." album.
And the songs themselves - as genius as ever, staying familar while also covering some newer ground. The album opener, "The Eggs of Melancholy", contains the familiar superfast melodic chord strumming and the slower 'drone' sections like earlier Mütiilation, but the second song "New False Prophet" kicks off in a new direction - it starts with a muted single-note riff and eerie processed vocals that builds with some overlaid guitar melodies until it blasts forth with more fast strumming. There is more subtlety present as well, with the occasional layered clean guitars making an appearance (something virtually impossible to do at full volume in a rehearsal room), some chiming bells here and there, and great use of double-tracked processed vocals. A lot more attention has been paid to those kind of subtle touches which adds a lot of depth while keeping it familiar. Other especially noteworthy songs are the trudging, eerie, then blasting "Inferi ira ductus", the atmospheric interlude "A Dream", the suicidally insane "Black as Lead and Death", and "No Mercy for Humans" with its violent declaration of war on those pathetic beings. Only time will tell if this surpasses the godly "Vampires of Black Imperial Blood" or "Remains..." albums, but it certainly at least on the same level - a dark, misanthropic, and amazing masterpiece of black metal.
"I survived time and death to meet you... When all stopped in '96, trends and childish bands were ruling the Black Metal scene and the true old bands were buried under a pile of commercial crap. There was no use to go on as I was sick of the way Black Metal was turning. After 4 lost years of decadence and depression, I'm fed up to see children take my place, so it's time to strike back and spread Evil! The old cult bands should prevail and show to this world they will survive any trend. We have to crush those well thinking pigs who made Black Metal something common and accepted. Who are they to steal our glory?....In the past, I told 'we'll see in a few years who will still be here and who will not'. So you buried me too fast but here I am and I shall stand to make you suffer. May the ancient flame burn again."
- Wil Roussel, 2001.
(Originally published at LARM (c) 2001)