January 29, 2016, sees another Swedish output unleashed upon the metal scene. These boys, Leo (drums), Johan (guitars), Viktor (vocals), Jonte (guitars) and Totte (bass) comprise Stockholm’s Lethal Steel, the origins of which can be traced back to 2011. The band quickly rush recorded a 4 song demo in 2012 to have something that they could show to the Muskelrock Festival. Guitarist Johan Frick recalls that the demo tape had the first Grim Reaper album recorded on the other side. That little demo helped to take Lethal Steel from the smaller Muskelrock Festival to the massive Sweden Rock Festival in the same year and now with signing to High Roller Records, they are setting free Legion of the Night, their debut full-length (8 track). Legion of the Night had Olof Wikstrand from Sweden’s Enforcer in the producer’s chair and “started recordings in late 2014 but due to Enforcer’s live schedule and Jonte who broke his hand in a bathroom accident the day before the guitar recordings, we did not finish it before the end of May 2015,” states Frick. He goes on to say: “The album contains five completely new songs, two old tracks never recorded (‘Into The Void Of Lucifer” and “Nattsvart”) plus “Nocturnal Seductress”. We are all too happy with the results. The lyrics are mostly derived from our own lives, with occult themes added to them. Some songs are based on folklores. For example, “Night Of The Witch” is about a Swedish lore in which witches travel to a mythical place called ‘Blåkulla’, where they feast with the devil.” During Enforcer‘s tour in late 2015 that saw them in Tokyo, Japan for the Japanese Assault Festival, Lethal Steel‘s guitarist Jonte was a stand-in guitarist for the tour.
Looking at the cover art of the record, one could easily believe that this would be a self-titled disc as the words Legion of the Night do not seem to surface in the depicted barren landscape. Aside from that, the band’s logo seems to tell you what you need to know: Classic Heavy Metal contained within.
Legion of the Night is wrought with classic NWOBHM sounds throughout and it all kicks off with the haunting guitar opening of “Sirius”. The tempo adjustments coupled with the rollicking, rampaging guitar found in this track open a great window into Lethal Steel and Legion of the Night. It took me a couple of spins to grasp, but it’s really grown on me with each spin. “Nattsvart” (“Night Black” according to Google Translate) exhibits a bludgeoning riff early on, a wicked solo, and crashes along for the full five-plus minutes. Up next is “Rosier” with a sort of Saxon-Esque feel to it before we dive headlong into the assault of “Warrior”. “Night of the Witch” continues the mythological style of lyrical themes from “Warrior” with its’ folklore based theme of witches travelling to a mythical place called ‘Blåkulla’, where they feast with the devil, as mentioned above. It’s an epic track taking the listener through several moods via tempo changes and a great listen for the longest inclusion at near six and a half minutes. “Into the Void of Lucifer” is the shortest composition, but another well-structured song that carries the listener through to “Nocturnal Seductress” which will serve as my personal choice cut from Legion of the Night. It showcases just a little more melody above the others while still maintaining the galloping guitars and charging pace changes. We wrap up with the eighth and final track, “Demon from the Past”. As throughout the whole release, there are NWOBHM parallels to greats like Iron Maiden and Saxon that can easily be heard, yet Lethal Steel manage to keep it fresh and not rehashed and this track is another great example of this.
Is Legion of the Night the greatest album ever? No. Is it a solid effort that shows tons of potential for this relatively new act out of the Swedish landscape? Hell yeah!