Satanism and Death Metal have always gone hand in hand. Perhaps it’s the symbolism of the repugnant bowels of the underworld, or maybe it’s the imagery of eternal suffering and torture, either way the symbolic notion of damnation has always been appealing to the Metal masses. Even some of the most classic Death Metal to grace this earth dabbles in the black arts, Morbid Angel and Deicide instantly spring to mind, or perhaps Behemoth and Belphegor if you want a more modern Blackened flavour to the forked tongue of the beast.
Infernal Legion have wasted no time since their descent into Satan’s lair, their output since their inception in 2000 has been strong. No EPs, Demos or Splits, Infernal Legion have always stuck to the theme of full length releases. Seven years have passed since the bands last album The Spear Of Longinus, and now we find ourselves Under The Cloven Hoof, released through Moribund Records as Infernal Legion’s highly anticipated anti-religious fourth full length powerhouse.
The introductory tones of Invocation I pave the way for this album, an 80’s horror style occult spoken word intro which reoccurs in a similar fashion as interludes throughout, and for once I actually think this works, drawing you in with an almost gimmicky Satanic edge. Enough of that however let’s get into the actual music, the first thing to really have any impact are the riffs, expertly composed and exhibiting a style akin to Dissection, Desultory, and Deicide all being thrown into a blender. Some of the strongest hook like riffs have to be in songs like Mountain Of Human Sacrifice, Under The Cloven Hoof and At The Gates Of Blasphemy
As far as the vocals go they add an old school touch, this album is a real mixture of Swedish and US Death Metal, a genuine extremely well executed testament to these classic sounds. Under The Cloven Hoof is a journey of not only brutality but also memorable melody, it really goes to show that not all Death Metal is about sheer aggression, yet it is still somehow able to hold a torch aloft for those seeking a pure and untainted Death Metal sound.
In short Infernal Legion are stand out songwriters, they know exactly what they are doing, this album feels modern and fresh but also totally old school. So has the bands gap between albums been worth the wait? Absolutely, Under The Cloven Hoof will please any Death Metal fan, it has it all from the cheesy Satanica to Melodious riffs to total guttural strength, check it out.
(7/10 George Caley)