Feb 20, 2011

Legion Within Album Review

Originally published in Line Zero Issue 02, February 2011

KMFDM Records, 2009
by Megan Perry

Founded in 2000 by singer-songwriter William Wilson, Seattle based band Legion Within have honed a sound that is distinguished by stark atmospheres of melodic bass lines, sparse but powerful guitars, and a few hints of machine-like rhythms and synthesizers. The current line-up for Mouth of Madness, Wilson (vocals, guitar), Shannon Cole (guitars), Erica Butler-Branch (bass), Aaron Nicholes (percussion) and Jasyn Byrum (synth), is their strongest yet.

The energetic yet haunting Mouth of Madness is Legion Within’s fourth album. Many of the tracks feel like familiar dark places to crawl into safely. With this release, Legion Within relentlessly entertains with a powerfully honest collection of commentaries. Listening evokes feelings of comfort and beauty at once with longing and disquiet. The strong goth-rock melodies teasing back and forth with industrial and operatic strains mix together to create a well-oiled and diverse sound for the album.

The opening track, Someone’s Speaking, sets the tone and pulsing pace for the rest of the songs, followed up like a one-two punch with the title track Mouth of Madness. Even when the album seems to calm down for a rest, songs such as Demon Arm wake you right back up by continually lulling you into bobbing your head to the calm and ominous tribal beat before renewing the previous intensity with a sudden, yet expected and welcome crescendo. 

Wilson’s opinion that things are still getting eerily Orwellian shows clearly through the all-too-true lyrics of Mall Cops Of Freedom. This satiric jab at the TSA becomes more relevant and frighteningly accurate every minute. Never passive, Legion Within exposes our current societal condition and entwines that with a complex, danceable, dark sound. 

Despite the serious undertones of the album’s tracks, catchy melodies and a danceable rhythm contribute to getting the crowd moving during Legion Within’s live shows. Wilson brings an unparalleled charisma to the stage as he successfully engages the audience. He induces the crowd to join in with their own rhythmic gyrations with his physical energy and alluring vocal style. This is what dark music should be doing, making you think or making you move. 

Mouth of Madness was released on June 16, 2009 though KMFDM Records. This and other Legion Within releases are available via online distribution through KMFDMStore.com. For more information about the band and upcoming events visit http://www.facebook.com/LegionWithin.