Legion of the Damned- Ravenous Plague (Napalm Records)

Some okay thrash that's neither here nor there...

One of the great virtues (or vices, depending on who you ask) of metal is the value placed on consistency. It's an ideal that can be traced all the way back to metal's roots in rock and blues music, one that emphasises that there's a certain purity in following a time-honoured template for how the music should sound. It's not hackneyed plagerism; it's about celebrating the spirit of the genre.

With all that said, let's turn our attention to Danish metal crew Legion of the Damned and their new album Ravenous Plague. Having been around since 2005, the band has released a string of albums containing plenty of the basic food group for a balanced diet in extreme metal; thrash. Their sound lies at a crossroads where this genre meets with the earliest beginnings of death metal and both mix together into a primal brew.

The merit of this album is going to depend on how much you liked the sound of that previous sentence, for Ravenous Plague is very much an album based on an unoriginal sound. That said, it's a sound that is played with a lot of conviction. The playing is tight and it's hard to fault any of the band members on the way they handle their instruments. The song writing ranges from average to forgettable, songs like Doom Priest, Howling for Armageddon and the title track all prove satisfying and do their job reasonably well, but there's not much warranting return listens.

When talking about a genre as well trodden as thrash metal, any complaints about not breaking the mould are almost moot points. So the best point of comparision to judge the quality of a re-thrash album is against other re-thrash albums. Take Toxic Holocaust for example, they are a band that stick to a pretty predictable formula, yet still manage to sound exciting on each new release. Using them as a point of reference, one could reasonably say that Ravenous Plague is a lesser album of average thrash metal.

At the end of the day, thrash metal in 2014 is a lot like a bowl of cereal. It's never going to be a 5 star meal, but it can really hit the spot when you're in the mood for it. It's just that Legion of the Damned sits more towards the home-brand side of the quality spectrum.