Not long after the release of their respected fourth LP, Ultimate Death Worship, Norwegians Daemon and Morfeus laid their symphonic black-metal project Limbonic Art to rest, claiming that they had reached their potential as a working unit. Of course, evil never sleeps, and after a three-year hiatus that found Daemon collaborating with Zyklon and Sarcoma Inc, Morfeus with his band Dimension F3H, the two black magicians announced (on 6/06/06, no less!) a reunion and a new album, Legacy of Evil. Daemon puts it best in a lyric from the album’s “Infernal Phantom Kingdom”: “Evil has a way of returning/ You cannot hide from hell’s eye/ It is always burning.”
And burn Legacy of Evil does. Opener “A Cosmic Funeral of Memories” drops us into the hellfire in media res. No scene-setting atmosphere, no textural buildup, not even a chance for Daemon to do a few vocal warm-ups — just immediate locust swarms of darkly melodic guitar buzz, troll rasping and inhuman blastbeats (provided by Limbonic Art’s customary drum machine). In the past, prominent keyboard parts played up the symphonic aspects of the band’s sound, but the synths are buried deep on Legacy of Evil in favor of a more assaulting, guitar-centric wall of sound. It’s as if Limbonic Art is unleashing three years of pent up rage all at once.
The overpowering aggression of Legacy of Evil is great in short spurts, but the relentless approach gets tiring over the course of the album. After the shock of its immensity wears off, that wall of guitars starts sounding wheezy and monotonous. “Grace by Torments” is a welcome relief, with a dread-inducing slow pace and power chords that ring out across the void; “Lycanthropic Tales” also fares better, thanks to some ominous choral passages and a constantly shifting tempo. Even the ridiculous sub-8-bit Nintendo waltz that opens “Twilight Omen” is a nice change from the nagging rhythmic battery of the majority of the album. Daemon and Morfeus make up for lost time on Legacy of Evil, but they don’t slow down for long enough to let us appreciate the true extent of their evil.