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Misanthropy Legion - "Eidolon" (CD)

Misanthropy Legion - "Eidolon" CD cover image

"Eidolon" track listing:

1. The Mass Has Ended (4:28)
2. Kali (2:41)
3. Leviathan Arise (2:43)
4. The Herald (3:27)
5. Path Of The Adversary (5:05)
6. Nymphomaniac (6:01)
7. Dehumanization (5:02)
8. The Witch Who Came By Night (4:08)
9. Black Dawn (3:52)
10. Soulbinding (5:49)
11. Legion (3:45)
12. Mute (3:14)
13. NJBM (2:36)
14. Chaos Ritual (7:43)

Reviewed by on March 23, 2009

"'Eidolon' may only be the first full-length album from Misanthropy Legion, but it plays like a release from a band that has already nailed down their sound and figured out what sets them apart from the rest of the crowd."

Black metal has received yet another face lift by a two piece band from New Jersey that isn’t satisfied with performing the same played out sound that’s been inundating the genre for nearly two decades. “Eidolon” may only be the first full-length album from Misanthropy Legion, but it plays like a release from a band that has already nailed down their sound and figured out what sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.

Misanthropy Legion has been described by many other reviewers as a black metal band that has enough hardcore influences to deserve some sort of new label that fuses the two styles together. That particular assessment may be taking the minimal hardcore vibe a bit too far, as anyone not actively looking for it would probably never come to that conclusion. There is the occasional guitar riff that wouldn’t be all that out of place on a Converge track, and the vocals are delivered in more of an angry yelling style than the traditional black metal screech, but “Eidolon” is still without question a black metal release through and through.

There are plenty of sounds in the songs that will most definitely never be heard on a Darkthrone or Mayhem album, and that’s one of “Eidolon’s” greatest strengths. The way that the guitars are played coupled with the more understandable lyrics make these songs actually catchy. Most of the tracks have a great deal of staying power and will remain in a listener’s head long after they’ve ended. That may definitely turn off the more radical fan base that craves unrelenting darkness and completely indecipherable vocals, but any metal head with a more open mind will find a good deal to thoroughly enjoy. The guitar work in general is the kind of thing that marks a noteworthy extreme metal release. While they never get too fancy or technical, there are enough dark tones, melodic interludes, and sudden changes in style to make every track distinctly different from the last and make a listener eagerly anticipate whatever’s coming next.

The vocals are another element that will divide fans based on personal preferences. There are several different types of screams, groans, and shouts utilized, and almost all of them are layered over top of each other. A few of the yells are radically different from what would be expected, taking the scream from hell concept to a level that literally sounds like some crazed animal is letting out a horrifying death cry. The coarseness with which those vocals are delivered do unfortunately cross the line from wickedly evil to slightly annoying from time to time. At a full 14 tracks, the album does also drag in a few places that could have definitely benefited some additional editing.

Black metal most certainly isn’t dead yet, and Misanthropy Legion has proven it by creating their own unique sound without resorting to heavy synthesizer use or over the top church burning antics. While some of the more drastic departures from the standard black metal act will probably make “Eidolon” a hit or miss for genre fanatics, the new twists provided are interesting enough to make it a novel and refreshing experience that is worth a listen even if the album doesn’t ultimately end up on any regular rotations.

Highs: Unique blending of different sounds into a black metal base, great guitar work

Lows: Goes on a bit too long, some of the vocals are grating even by black metal standards

Bottom line: A unique take on black metal that is worth a listen for any fan of the genre

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)