LEGBA: “THE DEMON INSIDE”
(We present Aleksha McLoughlin‘s review of the new album by the South Carolina doom band Legba, which is set for release on March 5th, along with a stream of all the music.)
In times of pandemic and civil unrest, exactly what price are we willing to pay to escape back to a time long since passed? Legba’s newest release proves that such sentiment cannot come without a price.
Legba are no strangers to inserting social commentary within their music, most noticeably on their prior album Hell, and yet the samplings of news reports telling of COVID-19 as it grips America might be their most haunting inclusion yet. Further still is the shocking fact that that report might actually be the cheeriest thing on this album, and that’s saying something.
As with many doom bands that pepper in stoner and sludge elements, The Demon Inside is menacingly slow, moving to a very deliberate, hypnotic pace and drenched in enough acid to make half the planet trip.
“The Demon Inside” lays down some thick rhythm riffs as Todd Holford’s also-thick Southern accent cuts straight through. The mesmerising guitars tick over ceaselessly as the steady hand of Harold Smith on drums flawlessly keeps time. I have long since subscribed to the idea that, when you play this slowly, the percussion becomes all the more important. This track ends in a popular fashion as the cleanly sung passages are expunged and replaced by fierce gravelled screams akin to the best of what Acid Bath had to offer.
Truth be told, The Demon Inside is not as guitar-driven as the previous records Hell, Necromance, or their self-titled debut. Not to say that the band’s newest release is strictly lacking bite, it just comes more in the form of slow-acting poison rather than a swift razorblade to the throat.
Also not to say that this is almost nothing but slow passages, though the formula would have you believe otherwise. “Cemetery of Love” spends its latter half entrenched in pure sludge metal vehemence. It’s an achievement that an album as slow as this can elicit such strong feelings of morosity and dread. The entire record bleeds a deep misanthropic anger that refuses to let go for the entire duration.
While I would have enjoyed more of that old-school sludge guitar work, complete with more harsh vocals peppered throughout, I can’t deny the impact that The Demon Inside has had on me. It’s every bit as dark and sincere as the greatest efforts from genres in the most extreme variants of metal, and it somehow manages to get under my skin a little more than I feel comfortable with. In doom though, I couldn’t have wanted it any other way.