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Thus Defiled – An Unhallowed Legacy – Album Review

One hell of a legacy....

Source // Thus Defiled

Here at Worship Metal we hear pretty much everything imaginable welded onto the black metal template: pipe organs, Indian percussion, accordion playing, a xylophone made from human bones played by a naked sixty-year old man (we might have made one of these up), so it’s refreshing to lift the lid on a slice of ‘classic’ black metal done right. That’s what we appear to have here, although rather unusually for Worship Metal’s inbox – it’s actually a reissue.

With a proud history of flying the flag for British black metal since 1992, An Unhallowed Legacy is a lavishly packaged affair which comprises Thus Defiled’s two legendary EPs, A Darker Beauty (2000) and Fire Serpent Dawn (2002).

And why not? Thus Defiled deal in roots-orientated black metal with plenty of melody alongside the brutality. Like genre forefathers Venom, they use tube reverb atmospherics, classic riffing and relentless drumming and mix it with elegant guitar figures that call to mind the oft-overlooked work of Dissection throughout the six songs that make up A Darker Beauty and Fire Serpent Dawn.

Despite accessible material and production that stays clear of some of the more extreme black metal conventions, Thus Defiled’s frontman, Paul C, deploys some truly evil-sounding vocals….and we mean proper raspy, ‘I’ve been possessed by Linda Blair on a bad hair day’ kinda shit. It sits loud and proud in the mix too; like a living gargoyle strapped to the front of a building, hissing and spitting obscenities at the nice folks below.

While Thus Defiled’s songwriting is mostly solid there are one or two moments that feel a touch laboured and drawn out. “Of Shadow And Storm” and “Beyond The Seventh Circle Of Fire” both clock in at over eight minutes there just isn’t enough musical invention there to sell that duration. It seemed to us that when Thus Defiled are at their most concise they are also at their strongest – “Fire Serpent Dawn” is case in point. It’s absolutely brilliant.

It’s in the nature of latter day black metal bands to push the envelope and try ever more weird and wonderful fusions and add-ons. Thus Defiled don’t. Instead, there is a retro quality to An Unhallowed Legacy that is honest and refreshing. Oh yeah and Paul, great piano solo at the end! 7/10

Thus Defiled

About Stuart Bell (55 Articles)
I was born in 1975 with a pile of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple vinyl next to my cot. I ate off a sheet of ply-board propped up between two Marshall cabs and shortly after I learned to read and write I learned the E minor chord and the pentatonic scale. One day my Dad bought me Iron Maiden's first album. Metallica's Ride the Lightning followed. Then, things got serious. I have held almost every rank in the Army of Heavy Metal: Fan, drunk fan, roadie, guitarist, producer and label scout. My Wife knows what Mastodon's Crack The Skye is about and my child can play Breaking the Law on piano. Go figure.

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