This brand of Blackened atmospheric Sludge is greatly enhanced by the presence of keyboards and other effects, which add a layer of depth to the already thick torrent of misery peddled by Legions of Crows.
They also have an ear for a good riff, the effect of which is never to be underestimated. Second track Fellating the Lamb is a great example of this; it crawls along for the most part sounding really sinister and malevolent, with Black Metal shrieks burning over the top of it. Unexpectedly it then rises above the fog into a mid-song gallop with a guitar solo, before inevitably waning, slowing down and falling back into the murk with dying wails. Great stuff.
That’s one of the most enjoyable things about this album – they have plenty of variety and a grasp of mood and songs to envy.
The combination of Gothic keyboards/Black Metal influences and filthy Sludge may not appeal to everyone. Most bands who combine Black Metal and Doom usually do so from the point of view of the harsher, dirtier side of both genres, making the melding of sounds easier as there is less distance to traverse. Legions of Crows however choose the path less travelled and combine the filthy, dirty side of Sludge with the more Gothic side of Black Metal. The overall result of course is bound to still sound on the grim side, but the keyboards have largely avoided the corruption and the juxtaposition of both is a pleasant surprise and largely works in the album’s favour.
Interestingly Paul Di’Anno also makes an appearance on the album, which in keeping with a lot of Stab Me is an unexpected turn of events, but a good one.
The recording is functional and does the job, and I’ve certainly heard worse, but I would prefer the drum sound to be slightly more hard-hitting next time. This is only a minor quibble though, as the sound serves the album well enough.
A very interesting release with plenty of individuality and character. I’ll certainly be listening to this quite a bit more and watching what they do next.