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Sunday Old School: Les Légions Noires

The LLN. The Les Légions Noires. The Black Legions. By whatever name, they were an infamous group of underground black metal artists/bands that emerged from France in the early 90s in response to the newly born Norwegian second wave of black metal (bands like Mayhem, Burzum and Emperor). With a penchant for prolific demo output, next to no full lengths, rough and raw material, barely audible/listenable recordings, obscure naming conventions, true satanic piety and rabid anti-commercialism - the LLN made a name for themselves by intensifying almost every black metal stereotype known to the metal community.

Most of the bands centered around a few very talented and driven individuals - Vorlok Drakkstein, Vordb Dreagvor Uezeerb, Vlad Drakkstein, and Meyhna'ch. However, the volume of bands that the group produced greatly outweigh this, with 20+ groups validated as being part of the LLN. The more well known bands of the group included Mutiilation, Vlad Tepes and Belketre, but there were also other hidden treasures and auditory obscurities which many could rightly regard as simply abstract noise.

Being such an obscure group, rumours about their nature have always been rife. More well known tales are of Mogoutre's demo being recorded with a microphone inside a dead rat, or of the bands recording and living within an ancient castle (dispelled as Meyhna'ch's archaic home). To further to add to their underground predilection, the band had an unequaled elitist view of black metal with unbridled contempt shown in statements like the following:

"Black Metal doesn’t mean anything any longer. It has become the shame of Satan, undermined in it’s very essence by all those pathetic worms, false Satanists, traitors and bastards of all kinds, have gathered to insult our art, and the less one can say is that they really succeeded in making it pure shit, a simple and only matter of image, money, publicity."

So why write this article if I'm such a believer in these bands? Why expose bands destined to be hidden in dark places from the taint of the mainstream? Simply put, it would be much more of a travesty to let their art go unnoticed by those who can appreciate it. The hateful garble that is Brenoritvrezorkre, the haunting primitive nature of Moëvöt, the soulful vampiricism of Mutiilation or the disgusting rage of Vlad Tepes are noises that few will be thankful to hear, but those that are will be so fully.

However listeners and more so buyers should beware of LLN releases. Because of internet distribution of LLN material, there are many false bands that claim to be part of the LLN in weak attempts to garner attention. Their recordings were almost never released further than selected people friends and mainly only in cassette formats. While you can still pick up copies of the bigger bands like Mutiilation, most of the limited tapes are only ever seen at exorbitant prices on Ebay with many being fakes and bootlegs.

While the LLN petered out as other projects, contempt for popularity and alleged drug abuse took its toll, Mutiilation and Vlad Tepes stood out as the most distributed in the group. While the LLN did not last, it's effects on the French black metal scene clearly did, making way for bands such as Alcest, Mortifera, Celestia and more who may have done away with the necrotic rodent production, but kept the melancholic sensibility. Even afar, bands like Xasthur pay homage to the LLN with Malefic covering Mutiilation and providing keyboards for a French band like Celestia. The spirit of the LLN lives on however, with Noktu (Celestia) who runs Drakkar Productions being a seemingly official distributor of LLN releases (and one of the finest underground labels there is).

Like much avant-garde art, the LLN has it's detractors. Many criticism about various LLN soundscape projects could be considered valid, but like those who mock Jackson Pollock most cynics are those who say "anyone could make those noises!" But the truth is of course, no-one
but the LLN ever had the evil imagination to do it.

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19 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Les Légions Noires"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Lord Magga writes:

Heard about the LLN a while ago, but completely forgot to check them out. Listening to Mutiilation now, sounds good.

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 3:47 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

2. Diamond Oz writes:

Fascinating. Nice one Cynic!

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 9:29 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

3. brandedcfh420 writes:

"Black Metal doesn’t mean anything any longer. It has become the shame of Satan, undermined in it’s very essence by all those pathetic worms, false Satanists, traitors and bastards of all kinds, have gathered to insult our art, and the less one can say is that they really succeeded in making it pure sh**, a simple and only matter of image, money, publicity."

Did it ever mean anything to begin with? We, the ones who dislike black metal, are only stating our opinions on a genre, yet the bands are the ones that make people dislike the music. Make it more audible and listenable and maybe people will not look at it as trash music. The bands make it pure sh**, not the listeners! If the BM bands would actually show some talent in the music they make, instead of making music thats almost too muddy to even listen to, then maybe people would give it more chances. BM is musicians that try their best to best the most demonic band out there and fail for the most part. What jokes some bands can be. If it has become the shame of satan, then why keep shaming him by making more shameful music?!?!?!?!?!

Not trying to fight with anyone over this article, just posting an opinion!

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 9:58 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
IrishMetal's avatar

Member

4. IrishMetal writes:

I think you missed the point a little branded :P

What you're saying is sh** black metal, is generally the more troo/kvlt stuff, and what they aim to make.

What these bands were speaking out against were the more popular bands like dimmu borgir, and how black metal has completely lost its message, in favour of attracting attention for different reasons.

So the black metal that is generally more listenable, is also the stuff that is straying farthest from the point.

One of the things that confuses me is why some black metal musicians make music, when they despise most everyone who listens to the stuff :/

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 11:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar

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5. OlafBerzerker writes:

Nice read Cynic

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 11:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

6. brandedcfh420 writes:

i didnt miss anything. All this guy was saying is that his idea of black metal is dead! boo fkn hoo for that turd!! Black metal is just noise for the most part anyways. However, there are some BM bands out there that make Bm that is listenable, and if that upsets the "troo BM" (hahahaha) purists, then o well. music changes, sounds change, etc... ITS CALLED EVOLUTION OF MUSIC!!! Evolve or be left behind!!

If this guy is so upset about his beloved BM, then maybe he needs to make the most offensive, extreme, over the top BM that has ever been made and bring it back to wherever he feels it should be!

He claims false satanists!! DO YOU HAVE TO BE A TRUE SATANIST TO BE BLACK METAL?!?!? What a joke that is! This guy is just crying about something he holds dear to his heart, nothing else!

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 11:52 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

7. deathbringer writes:

I don't know what's not to get Branded. It's a similar argument that goes on in metal itself. Outsiders can say "it's just noise" while those really involved in the scene (or different aspects of it) on more than a casual level may be disheartened by the direction metal has taken over time, focusing on things they believe detract from metal and its message itself. In the end theirs is an opinion and to argue strongly against it really shows nothing more than you disagree because you don't hold their values.

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 7:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar

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8. OlafBerzerker writes:

Punk has gone thru this tug of war for ever. In 94 when green day released dookie all the punx balked at this so called punk rock that was sweeping the nation ....... the battle continues

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 8:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

9. brandedcfh420 writes:

I have listened to Bm numerous times. This guy is all b!tchy about the way others have changed BM. He justy needs to realize that times have changed, but he doesnt have to. Make more Bm thats "troooooooooooooooooo BM" and quit b1tching about others, who are more popular than he is. If his music was so spectacular, then he would be touring the world!! But, as it stands, hes whining about others and their fame, nothing more!

I may not like the bands he hates, but at least they are not sh1ttalking someone else for what they are doing! Sounds like he needs his ba-ba and nap!!

# Jun 13, 2010 @ 10:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. Drudkh writes:

It seems brandedcfh420 you do nothing but state "the obvious" or what has been already said in the article with a slightly negative twist. The obvious is in quotes because the LLN's stance has flown over your head.

"at least they are not sh1ttalking", As opposed to what you're doing....?

# Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:43 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

11. brandedcfh420 writes:

I talk smack a lot, but if this guy is so upset, then stop talking about it and get busy doing something about it!! Thats all Im saying!! Whats true BM and fake BM anyways? Who is he to say whats fake or not?!?!? Hes just another human who hates what he sees and has taken to b****ing about it, like humans do. All of his anger should be channeled into his music. Show the world what "TRUE BM" really is!! Or will he sit back and keep talking about WHAT WAS, instead of trying to make the FUTURE! THATS ALL IM SAYING!!!!

# Jun 14, 2010 @ 10:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Trendkill91's avatar

Member

12. Trendkill91 writes:

Awesome read man!

I think the fun thing about it is , that you noted they never wanted to be noted as mainsteam and you wrote it in a way that paid respect to the band in doing that.
Good work man.

As far as this Black metal goes, I am really not the biggest of fan of this style.
It's somewhat original but also follows the trend of necro style black metal. old Mayhem and Burzum sounds the same to me.

I agree with Branded, these Black Metal musicians like Varg always talk down to what ever comes out these days. They say its not the same, its changed in so many ways that its disturbing to the genre.

After all he was in prison for so long , so he had time to work on his vocab and grammer to sound smart. But all he is , is a hypocrite , racist idiot that can't face the truth.

Why make music if you hate it ? If ya kind of know what I mean?

# Jun 14, 2010 @ 9:49 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

13. hellrat writes:

nice work cynic...wield out some more!

branded---listen to EMPEROR, then we'll talk :)

hey thanks for the archives 'bringer!! awesome...

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:06 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

14. WOLF7 writes:

And I thought "Black Metal" was a reference to the band Living Colour...

As taken seriously, while I like some black metal tracks, the whole Norwegian Black metal scene just got so sinister and violent, it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I haven't been able to enjoy the music after that.
The thought of band members murdering each other, or someone murdering his neighbour and then shooting himself surrounded by a circle of candles and pentagrams... Too much for me.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 2:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

15. hellrat writes:

W7..... EMPEROR!!!

none of that hokus-pokus....just ripping great tunes :)

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 2:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

16. hellrat writes:

hey dudes, check out 'curse you all men' and the rest live at wacken....

f***ing INSANE :)

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 2:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar

Member

17. OlafBerzerker writes:

will check it out HR thanks for the heads up. I have a hard time with the BM. I played Bathorys first to albums alot. possessed seven churches, Venom..... that was BM to me back in the day. they sang evil stuff so i fig it was BM. Ive played a few bands over the years and wasnt a big fan Marduk, darkthrone.. not to my liking. A guy i work with is a cradle fan. I dont have a problem with it. It sounds fine but im not sure its BM..... wheew! Now playing: Blood Fire Death

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

18. hellrat writes:

ya Berserkr, its on youtube (forgot to mention)....it also is under the listing "Inferno"

'i am the balck wizards'...'inno a satana'...'thus spake the night spirit'...etc!!!

these guys kick the sh** out of many bands, of ANY genre

happy listening :)

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

19. hellrat writes:

'....BLACK wizards"

goddamn!!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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