'An Unhallowed Legacy'
Between 1992 and 2007 British black metal act Thus Defiled kept the hellfire stoked in the infernal underground scene. A slew of album and EP releases favouring a belligerent and bestial black metal that owed as much to the likes of Venom and Bathory as it did to their contemporaries, saw them gain coveted support slots across Europe.
Yet just as the band looked to be on the threshold of a big push through, silence followed. Fast-forward to 2016 and the Daemonspawn return with the re-release of their classic EPs 'A Darker Beauty' and 'Fire Serpent Dawn', plus a new release on the horizon and Thus Defiled are very much back. What better way to return than with a long-overdue retrospective compilation album pulling together their strongest tracks so far.
The band's career may have been somewhat overshadowed due to their unfortunate hiatus, but the fire still burns brightly on their older material. Songs such as 'Eden Stand's Aflame', 'Of Shadow And Storm', 'Beyond The Seventh Circle Of File', and 'Fire Serpent Dawn' sound utterly bombastic as bludgeoning blastbeats frame scathing guitars and shredded vocals in an unrelenting barrage of thrash-tinged black metal. While earlier cuts 'Ebony Thorns Embrace' and 'A Darker Beauty' are laced with gothic atmospherics and doomy undertones to add a dramatic slant to the brutality.
As most with compilations, the production does vary from track-to-track with noticeable jumps in quality between the band's earlier and later output. But despite a few rough edges here and there the songs hold their own throughout and have stood the test of time pretty well.
'An Unhallowed Legacy' may be a brief introduction to Thus Defiled, but it is nonetheless effective. The songs still sound powerful today and would easily form the core of any live set the band would play today. If you missed them first time round, this is a good primer for what is a very welcome rebirth in the British black metal scene.