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Generally boring, no indication of later material - 41%

Noktorn, March 25th, 2009

I understand that a lot of people in the metal scene want to hear all of a given artist's work including the demos, but sometimes they're demos for a reason. If you were already a fan of Legion Of Doom, a great way to describe the music on 'The Desecration' would be as very much like later Legion Of Doom work but lacking any and all of the subtlety and personality. This isn't an awful release, but it's very generic and mediocre in all ways and really did not need a reprint for those few obsessive compulsives who need to hear absolutely everything. This is no way matches up to even the first LP by this band, and just ends up being an annoying diversion from the rest of the band's quality material.

Discussing what separates later Legion Of Doom material from the glut of other black metal available on the market is a pretty dicey prospect, because there's nothing very specific that points to Legion Of Doom being unique; no novel instrumentation or major stylistic diversions are found. I think that it's really how the band manages to craft very epic pieces with simple, primitive melodies and rhythms that seem nearly trite at first glance and only later reveal their grandeur when inserted in the framework of the song structures. The band is not epic in the sense of Summoning or Amon Amarth and tends to avoid any 'obvious' signs of being an epic and dramatic band, but with their insistence on staunch Nietzschian philosophy and finely-tuned soundscapes, everyone who hears Legion Of Doom immediately knows they're listening to something very different (and much better) than the average.

'The Desecration' is disappointing not because the music is particularly poorly executed, but that it lacks all of the unique elements that define later Legion Of Doom. Where future material from the band ends up taking basic and universal black metal tropes and constructing something epic and vast with them, this demo takes universal black metal tropes... and just makes black metal with them. While none of the songs are necessarily bad, the band fails to go anywhere remarkable with the simple elements that they would later spin into such amazing soundscapes, though not for lack of trying. On every moment of this disc it sounds like Legion Of Doom is struggling to convey the sort of emotions and ideas that they would later master, but continuously fails at making anything more than unremarkable and mediocre black metal.

Production is poor and playing is suspect, but the songwriting is what damages this stuff, without as clearly defined a style as the band's later material, often diving for oldschool Bathoryisms when original ideas run out, which makes a lot of the songs end up being fairly incongruous and haphazardly laid out. The music isn't entirely incoherent, but the transfers between sections are often just jarring enough to eliminate any sort of atmosphere or immersion that the band might have stumbled upon, and as a result this is a frustrating and inconsistent listen. Some of the criticisms I have for this release might not be fair, given that I'm comparing it so heavily to the band's later, superior works, but even on its own I think most would find this demo unremarkable and generally uninteresting, with only very mild hints of what was to come.

I file this in the same place that I stick Lucifugum's 'Gates Of Nocticula': a formative and immature work from a band that would later achieve greatness. For this reason, it may have some level of historical importance, but from the perspective of simple listening, I don't find a lot to recommend here, especially when other material by this artist is so readily available. Stick to this band's later full-lengths and give this a pass unless you're a dire completist.