Legen Beltza hail from Spain's Basque country, so that explains their weird name. It translates to "black death", and of course was used in the Middle Ages. The band's outlet isn't any folk metal with dulcimers and harps to give that "bonafide" medieval feel to music, no, but thrash metal. And it is very promising, something like a band with their fourth full length album under their belts must sound like. Hmm, I rather should put it this way: This is one of the better thrash albums I've got to hear this decade!
Thrash metal, then. Do Legen Beltza bring something new to this vast genre? No. However, they have some characteristics to make them stick out from the pack. The first one that catches the ears is the voice of Xanti. It's like a mixture of young James Hetfield (Metallica), Mille Petrozza (Kreator) and Steve Souza. Not quite as throat-ripping as Mille's voice was, but Xanti's not sparing his vocal cords. Surely it is an affair of love/hate, because the vocals are so brain-penetrating to listen to. But this way it is true, right?! My bet is that the bassist Azkeu does the growling, but it's hard to say about the guys' casting on vocals. The lyrics get a thumb up for interesting topics.
The music the band makes is a mixture of brutality and melodiousness. If there's one band that Legen Beltza remind me of, kind of, it must be German stalwarts Paradox. Legen Beltza also mate old and modern thrashing together, even though it's more in the old school territory. Many of the riffs and lead guitar bits are closely related to new Testament and similar (e.g. 'Vaporized', 'Mutants from the Red Hill' and 'Global Dictatorship'). Every song includes very catchy parts, some a lot and some less so. Both the vocals and the playing are hard. Simpler riffs are rigorous to say the least. The lead guitar work can both intensive and more on tender side, although not tender like, say, Testament's slow, sentimental songs. The guitar solos are good or very good indeed, and they tend to stick in the brain like most of the riffs and of course, the songs. The rhythm section provide a sturdy and flexible backbone for others, and it's a great variety of beats fired on this album. The band can nail an instrumental song too, as 'Amaierarik Ez Da' finely proves. In all, Legen Beltza do it high-octane way, unlike many of the newcomers manage it, or even old renowned bands who have gone stale.
There are no traces of metalcore here, this is all-out thrash metal! The modern vibes are caused by the production. While being recorded by the band, this was mixed and mastered by the one and only Andy Classen. This means it's powerful in modern way, but still metal through and through. So, if you want an energetic piece of thrash metal, do try Legen Beltza. You might find a great new band here!!!
Rating: 8 (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane