When I first started listening to Legacy of Disorder‘s new album, Last Man Standing, I thought I had accidentally put on a Dirge Within promo.

That’s not a compliment.

Last Man Standing is bro metal of the lowest order — at its best, it’s painfully generic, and at its worst, its soporific, painfully self-serious, and chock full of lyrics that are totally devoid of subtext. (Vocalist James Robinson, who sounds more or less like ten million other metal vocalists, has apparently never met a cliché he didn’t love.) Even if you’ve never heard Dirge Within, I would easily be able to convince you that LoD are any number of other nu-metalcore bands; they’re like one power ballad away being New Zealand’s answer to Five Finger Death Punch (actually, a power ballad might have broken up the monotony of the album), and they wouldn’t be out of place opening for Hellyeah or even All That Remains or on a bill with whatever that shitty band Dan Spitz is in now is called. Red Licorice? Something like that.

But at least all of those bands have spiffy, expensive production to make them sound good(ish); while I appreciate that you can actually hear the bass on Last Man Standing, the whole thing generally sounds small, and while fuzzy guitars can work for certain kinds of metal (primarily stoner and sludge), here it denies the songs of any kick. I suspect the idea was to make Last Man Standing sound welcoming to the greatest amount of ears possible — this isn’t the kind of band that’s aiming for street cred — but it doesn’t work here. It’s like getting punched with fists ensconced in bubble wrap instead of brass knuckles. The result is that even when the band stumbles upon a decently catchy riff, almost by accident (see: the opening of “The Impaler”), it just feels flaccid, and completely fails to gain any kind of foothole in the listener’s memory.

And it’s stupid, too. “March of Death,” a song that seems designed to deliberately attempt to one-up the controversy surrounding Slayer’s “Angel of Death,” opens with a sample of a Nazi screaming in German. Now, I don’t think LoD are Nazis or endorse Nazism, but what, I have to wonder, is the point of this sample? (Ironically, the opening lyric of the song is, “What’s the point of any of this?”) Do they think it “sounds cool” or something? Are they just trying to be provocative? It feels like they’re BEGGING to be misunderstood, which is, y’know, a little odd.

The nicest thing I can say about this album is that I probably won’t remember it next week.

(1 outta 5 horns)


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