Friday, January 14, 2011

Metal Scenes: Les Legions Noires

In the late 1980's and early 1990's and possibly continuing until today, a group of musicians in France began calling themselves Les Legions Noires, the Black Legions. There were about ten individuals, though reports may differ, and they combined in a variety of lineups to form a number of black metal/ambient groups. Many of the groups never actually released a full-length album. Most of the known recorded works of the LLN groups came in the form of a large number of demos and splits.

The LLN releases were mostly lo-fi dirty-sounding recordings. One popular myth has recording being made with the microphone inside the body of a dead rat. The LLN releases are mostly extremely limited and rarely available on a medium outside of vinyl or cassette.

Some of the better-known groups that were part of Les Legions Noires were Vlad Tepes, Mutiilation, Torgeist, and Belketre.

This is a split album featuring two of the more well-known bands in the LLN scene. The recording styles differ wildly, but the music is clearly underground black metal. Each side is long enough to be a stand-alone album, but the bands chose to combine their efforts resulting in a long, but engrossing release.

The Vlad Tepes side of the split album is probably one of the better examples of the LLN sound. The recording quality is surprisingly decent. Vlad Tepes also incorporate more traditional heavy metal influences into their black metal. It is not just Transilvanian Hunger worship, there is a lot of depth and effort put into the music. The music is more melodic and full.

Belketre on the other hand, produce a sound that is bitter and hateful. Much closer to stereotypical raw black metal, Belketre also utilize some powerful ambient parts to their side of the split. There is virtually no bass sound, and the side as a whole is much more aggressive and dark.

One of the few full-length releases by any LLN band, Mutiilation's first release is closer in sound to Belketre's side of the above split, rathen than that of Vlad Tepes. This is much more traditional-sounding black metal with harsh riffs, raspy shrieks, and pounding drums. The sound is raw and evil, and often depressive at the same time. Mutiilation is one of the few LLN bands to still be active, and for good reason. Mutiilation perfectly captures the original spirit of black metal on this release. It's dark and oppressive, and that's the way it should be.

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of any of these. Interesting.