Infernal Legion - Sculptured Humans Review
by Matt Hensch
"Sculptured Humans" is a neat piece of obscurity hailing from the wretched bowels of Belgium's netherworld. Oddly enough, I found this record mysteriously rotting in a clearance box at a local record store, sold for a wallet-ripping price of two dollars. I remember looking at the artwork, almost sure that "Sculptured Humans" was the work of an extreme metal band of some breed: the band's logo was (and still is) indecipherable, and the morbid artwork was hellish and ghastly. I had never heard of Infernal Legion to begin with, yet I was pleasantly surprised with what this forgotten number offered. Melodic black metal in the vein of Dissection is (or was, they canned their title for the less-gripping The Reckoning) the seminal focus of Infernal Legion, but some elements of death/thrash metal rotate in the band's circulatory system as well. The album is a quick dive into the realms of darkness and doom, channeling the ethics of black metal but avoiding clichιs and haphazard moments most of this identity encounter.
Infernal Legion's approach, contrary to the Dissections and Sacramentums aboard, feels much 'hotter' and violent than the cold, nocturnal atmospheres created by the aforementioned idols of melodic black metal. The opening section of the boiling "F.T.W." sort of generalizes what the remaining album represents through the bloodthirsty blasting and mincing tremolo picking which appeals to the work of melodic black metal in riff texture and general sophistication. Interestingly, atmosphere does not play an important role. "Sculptured Humans," however, seems more like a riff-based episode than most of the melodic black metal nature; some of the melancholic harmonies and beautiful interludes are simply nonexistent. The guitar work is at least compelling enough (and melodically insured) to hook the sub-genre's prime qualities, perhaps not in the sight of Dissection prophets, but it works regardless, and fairly well too.
As one could guess, Infernal Legion doesn't have any surprises behind its back. There are a few cuts that chop the gunning speed down for a bit, using slow, mid-paced tremolo riffs and punching percussion to get the band's testimony across, and it should be noted that these numbers are remarkably fresh and fun, and might be the biggest accomplishment of Infernal Legion's buried legacy. The only track that truly attracts the exterior themes of melodic black metal is "Under Influence of Sickness," a song that exclusively flows between chilling melodies and Infernal Legion's go-for-the-throat mentality with aerial precision, and easily the peak of the record's offerings. Honestly though, you basically get what you expect: lots of black metal riffs and an overcoat of filthy, violent torment.
"Sculptured Humans" could never match the bitter power and instrumental ingenuity of its main influences, however. The song writing is noticeably novice, and Infernal Legion's lack of originality perhaps invoked a chameleonic shade on the band and their isolated debut. Whatever the reason, our world has overshadowed Infernal Legion, yet the material within has more than enough substance to surpass a number of groups calling upon the melodic black metal spell, which certainly sings of the band's encumbering ability and knowledge of the postulate. At times the album looks too gritty and savage for its own good, but that's the beauty of "Sculptured Humans." It's a raw, primitive upheaval of nihilistic sorcery touched by melodys black hand ever so elegantly, and it was definitely worth the cash. Look into this one; it may shock you.
Infernal Legion - Sculptured Humans
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