Author: Brendan Blake
- Artist: Abaddon
- Album: I Am Legion
- Year of Release: 2000
- Country: UK
- Label: Snapper Music
- Format: Jewelcase CD
- Catalogue Number: SMACD 822
Note – Originally written some years ago, but edited to fit blog format
As I’m sure anyone reading this will know, Tony ‘Abaddon’ Bray was the original drummer with Geordie legends Venom, one of the progenitors of the entire black metal genre in the early 80s. All three of the classic line-up have had a bash at solo records over the years, including Mantas’ rather limp soft rock album Winds Of Change, and Cronos’ solid if uninspired trad metal records in the mid-90s. It took Abaddon until 2000 to get round to releasing his own effort, I Am Legion. And it is fucking horrible.
I should start by saying that I have no objection to musicians moving on, trying new things, experimenting. But if you are going to do that, please try and make sure it’s good. I Am Legion is a vile mixture of incredibly simplistic groove metal riffing, with a few effects and electronic touches so he can try and claim that his new direction is ‘industrial’ and ‘cutting edge’.
It actually quite upset me to have to go back and listen to this again in order to review it. I’m trying to think of nice things to say about it but I’m struggling… the production is probably supposed to be raw and in-your-face, but the vocals are buried in the mix and the guitar is crushed under so many effects that virtually all melody is lost. The drumming, simplistic even by Venom standards, sounds lacklustre and bored. The lyrics are juvenile at best, with opener ‘White Nigger Trash’ setting the stall out – trying to come across as edgy by using pointlessly offensive language. I’m not being prudish here, but there’s nothing shocking here, just an old man out of touch with the world, trying to sound like he has a political point to make; in reality this sounded dated in 2000, and listening at the back end of 2019 it sounds somehow even more woeful.
To add insult to injury, the track ‘Hollow Voices’ is simply a re-working of ‘Domus Mundi’ from the rather fine Venom album Cast In Stone, and ‘Holy Man’ is a re-working of an obscure Venom track of the same name that they recorded for their own tribute album(!). This leaves us with five other mediocre tracks and a closing instrumental.
As a die-hard and long-term Venom fanatic, it pains me to say this, but this is one of the worst albums I have the misfortune to have been suckered into buying. Pitiful. Don’t make the same mistake I did, and avoid this like the plague.