Legion of Andromeda- “Iron Scorn”

Legion of Andromeda- Iron Scorn

It’s been a bit less than a year since Japanese death metal duo Legion of Andromeda took its Cosmo Hammer to my ears and pummeled me into oblivion with its debut demo’s unique brand of glacially paced hatred. Since then, the pair were lucky enough to meet with the legendary Steve Albini, who recorded and mixed tracks that were then sent on to John Golden for proper mastering. The result is Iron Scorn, an LP that delivers on the filth constructed on Legion of Andromeda’s demo and escalates the cosmic ambition to the massive levels it has warranted from the band’s beginning. For their debut release on labels Unholy Anarchy (US) and At War With False Noise (EU), the band could have easily cleaned up a few rough edges for greater appeal, but have instead opted to take every hideous thought and amplify it for greater effect.

While Iron Scorn shows Legion of Andromeda returning with many familiar elements, each is honed in such a way that doubling the length of the release does little to bore the listener. That repetitive drum and dense, muddy guitar sound is omnipresent on this release. Still, the click of the cymbal is just the slightest bit more pronounced and the guitars feel unrealistically large while still avoiding cheesy or awkward sounds. So is there growth? Not really. Legion of Andromeda’s entire method consists of focused misanthropy from a perspective that is massive and violent. To dash this album with melodic flourishes or variations in tempo would remove the rigid precision that makes this such a vital and ugly album. Much like the early works of Godflesh (which are clearly a touchstone for this act), the whole point is to create a constant and suffocating presence that fills the room without relying on more than a few basic instruments. The vocals are noticeably clearer and more depraved on Iron Scorn, which is actually a nice touch, as they are the vessel through which Legion of Andromeda conveys its foul intent.

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One of the most interesting points of reference for the expansion of sound within Legion of Andromeda’s intentional stylistic constraints is the fact that most of the 2013 demo is recreated on Iron Scorn, allowing the listener to dissect the differences. In terms of composition, little is altered, (although “Overlord of Thunder” has been slightly abridged) but the sound has become broader. Since this has been mastered for vinyl, I can only imagine how ferocious and deliberately filthy this will sound when played in its proper format. The thing that needs to hit home most about this review is that Iron Scorn rips–not like a thrash metal album or something to which one “rocks out,” but it is as close as heavy metal can come to actually ripping the flesh from one’s body. It’s heavy, hateful, and muddy in all the best ways. Masochistic metal lovers need this in their lives, that’s for sure.