Review: “Legions” by Desolate Realm

After the triumph of their self titled album in 2021 the return of Desolate Realm with “Legions” is a highly anticipated one from a pair of musicians who hail from Helsinki Finland and are known for their prior convictions in Decaying, Chalice and Altar of Betelgeuze. As with that last album, this time out drummer Olli Törrönen recorded his parts in April 2022 Saarni Music and Lammaskallion Audio in Tuusula with Markus Heinonen (Spirewell, Mutant Blast, Astral Sleep). Subsequently, guitars, bass and vocals were recorded between April 2022 and June 2022 at Louhinta Studios in Helsinki by mastermind and multi instrumentalist Matias Nastolin himself. He also produced, mixed and mastered, making this a largely DIY or DIE affair…

A powerful combination of Doom, Thrash and Traditional Heavy Metal create the spine of the bands sound, bejewelled with moments of Power Metal in the lyrics as Nastolin tells tales of prophecies as he plays the protagonist, a King like figure sat upon a throne calling to his “Legions” in the opening cut. The riffs are there to be worshipped, no longer false Gods but those possessing a conquering power, a Dio inspired high pitched vocal moment in the title track cracking a smile. It’s the only one as Nastolin brings a gruff yet clean voice for the majority his parts with very little accenting to indicate where he hails from. “Final Dawn” offers a subtle solo as the tale continues to unfold, the mid-tempo crush given a little extra edge and impetus by Törrönen’s powerhouse percussive sound before the heat is turned up for “Forsaken Ground“. Injected with more cut, thrust and energy with a Thrash orientated riff, this one raises the hairs on the back of the neck with it’s power. Another high pitched wail opens the floor for a smoking solo as Nastolin reaches Trivium level riffs with some frenetic fretboard action which commands your attention. Things slow down deceptively with the crunch of “Revelation“, a cut with an early bass solo after a powerful introduction that parts the Red Sea for it. The vocals are majestic, the rhythmic blood and thunder giving plenty to get that slow head bang going and poison chalice in the air to toast the band in Spirit Adrift fashion.

While there are plenty of cuts here which have earworm riffs, “Betrayal” is arguably top of the pile. An old school rampage through Black Sabbath inspired territory, the riff dances around the skull with a quality that will find you humming it in the dead of night or accidentally stumbling into it when playing a six string. Another powerhouse cut, it is matched by the fiercer “The Lost One” which seems to have a little more meaning on a personal level as Nastolin has a little more emotion in his performance. Darker riffs are played off against a vibrant solo which climbs from the black depths in the final third with the melancholic and almost mournful feel of this one inescapable. Bringing swagger to the Kings table, “Through the Depths” is a classic that could have surfaced any time in the past 40 odd years and been perfectly at home. Masterfully crafted it’s pre-Thrash leanings are the hallmark of wisdom earned through years at the grindstone of a rehearsal space creating alchemy to match the vision held within the very soul. A heavier bridge into the final third borders on breakdown territory before building into some leads in a final throw of the dice that is as captivating as they come. A near nine minute magnum opus concludes the record on a high with “Eternal Winter” finding Nastolin exposing his darkest thoughts. Epic melodies and gripping riffs bring the house down in triumphant fashion, the mid cut solo some kind of cosmic wizardry. Desolate Realm have created the kind of album in “Legions” that you could listen to over and over again, getting lost in the riffs that hypnotise [8.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Legions
2. Final Dawn
3. Forsaken Ground
4. Revelation
5. Betrayal
6. The Lost One
7. Through the Depths
8. Eternal Winter

Legions” by Desolate Realm is out 17th March 2023 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *