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Devoted to Satan (1994)

Devoted to Satan was released in January 1994 by one of the lesser-known bands of the French Black Legions, Torgeist. Many are only familiar with them through their split album with Vlad Tepes and, though that material is superior to this, their first demo may be worth checking out for those into the LLN.

The production is rough, as one would expect. However, it is not necessarily in a good way. The guitar sound is thin and has a decent amount of fuzz, but it still lacks any real edge. The drumming is pretty bad, possessing a hollow sound that is actually kind of distracting and gives the whole recording a rather childish sound. Instead of sounding raw and necro, this just sounds bad. Thankfully, by the time they recorded Time of Sabbath, they corrected some of these problems.

The songwriting is rather primitive but, again, not really in a positive sense. In this case, the material is simplistic and not terribly engaging. It fails to really create any sort of dark atmosphere, mostly just plodding along and going through the motions, without doing anything worth noting. The harsh vocals are there, as well as the lo-fi production and Satanic lyrics and imagery. And yet... nothing. This is so far below their second demo that it almost seems like a completely different band.

Devoted to Satan is not the best musical tribute ever dedicated to the lord of Hell. In fact, this is so boring and lackluster, one might imagine that Christians were behind this as a means to secretly defile and insult the black metal cult. There is absolutely no feeling behind any of the music on this tape. It is very uninspired and hardly worth the time to bother with, unless you are just really curious.
(26 Apr. 2013)

Time of Sabbath (1995)

Torgeist was not really among the elite of the LLN movement, gaining most of their notoriety through the split that was released with Vlad Tepes in 1996. This material was taken from their second demo, Time of Sabbath, originally released in 1995. This tape is really the only music from Torgeist that is worth hearing, and the demo actually sounds better than the versions on the split (despite being the same recording, the vinyl has a very low volume that lacks the clarity of the cassette).

Torgeist's sound is not that dissimilar to Belketre, which makes sense as they share two members. Musically, this is very raw and lo-fi, nearly to the extent that it might make your ears bleed. There are a decent number of tempo changes and odd timing signatures. Though the guitars are hellish and possess a fuzzy tone, the bass almost commands more of the listener's attention, rumbling much closer to the surface than one might expect. The songwriting is somewhat unique, as it becomes difficult to really compare this to anything else, directly. These songs lack the standard characteristics that defined most black metal of this period; i.e. tremolo melodies and blast beats dominating the sound. In fact, most of this material is kind of mid-paced and relaxed.

Though Time of Sabbath is not the greatest release from the French Black Legions, it still shows a great deal of improvement over Torgeist's first demo, and is actually worth listening to. Unlike Devoted to Satan, this demo possesses a sense of dark atmosphere and a misanthropic spirit that is conveyed through the hateful vocals and the more inspired songwriting. If you ever decide to explore the music of Torgeist, make sure you start here.
(22 Feb. 2012)

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