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Die Hard - "Conjure the Legions" (CD)

Die Hard - "Conjure the Legions" CD cover image

"Conjure the Legions" track listing:

1. Conjure the Legions (5:00)
2. Masters of Deceit (3:43)
3. Satanic Uprise (3:42)
4. Thrash Them All (3:01)
5. Cold Scythe (5:07)
6. Sanctify the Morbid (4:23)
7. Antichrist (3:45)
8. Stand Up (4:14)
9. Robe and Crown (5:14)

Reviewed by on December 17, 2012

"If 'Nihilistic Vision' was 'equivalent to a 12-car pileup at the Daytona 500,' 'Conjure The Legions' is more like a car tapping into another one at a stop light in the middle of the night."

Die Hard had a good thing going with their debut album “Nihilistic Vision” which I reviewed back in 2010. It was serious Venom worship, but the band knew that and used it to cultivate some catchy, thrashy death metal. “Conjure The Legions” brings with it a new lineup and a slightly cleaned-up sound, not only in production value, but in execution. The sloppiness that endeared itself to songs like “Attack From The Back” have been touched up, and while that makes for a more cohesive album, it also takes the edge off the music that made the first album worth discussing.

Bassist Harry (only first name basis for this musician) is the lone survivor from the last album, and he takes over the vocal duties. His voice isn’t as Cronos-mimicking as the last vocalist, though there are still hints of that Cronos snarl. Like the music, the vocals are more subdued, accenting the thrash/death sound without making it a blur of noise. “Nihilistic Vision” had a knack for being a little too rambunctious at times, and Die Hard made noticeable progress to avoid repeating this pitfall.

While the band does slow down more consistently than they did on their last outing, there are still enough songs where the final product is tightly-wound rage. “Thrash Them All” doesn’t toy with speed manipulation, sticking to the values given off by its song title with three minutes of unstable passion for trouble. “Antichrist” and “Satanic Uprise” keep this philosophy going for the band, though except for an above-average chorus in the former, the long-lasting reach of these songs is suspect at best.

That could be said about much of the songwriting brought up on the album. The band comes in, bangs out some rough notes, a few screechy solos pop in, and they duck out in tidy fashion. The lengthy solo on “Sanctify The Morbid” and insane pace of “Stand Up” satisfy an initial craving for thrash, but the aftertaste doesn’t stick around enough. If “Nihilistic Vision” was “equivalent to a 12-car pileup at the Daytona 500,” “Conjure The Legions” is more like a car tapping into another one at a stop light in the middle of the night.

“Nihilistic Vision” was not a complete record, but there were moments following its release where a song would just randomly spill out of my memory. There isn’t anything on “Conjure The Legions” that measures up to that. Die Hard can write a head-spinning tune, some of them more valuable than others, and that’s enough to make their second album above passable. It’s just disappointing that Die Hard played it safe, not taking into account how much the band got out of adventurous cuts “Bloody War” and “Death Chasing the Flock of Mortals” on the last album.

Highs: Death metal with a thrashy edge that works well, less sloppy than the debut album, killer solos throughout

Lows: Not as memorable as the first album, lineup change may irk those used to the one used on the last album, not much of a leap forward for the band

Bottom line: Slightly underwhelming considering how solid their first album was, yet will find favor with those that enjoy the thrashier side of death metal.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)