Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Легион - "Апокалипсис" [1986]

Artist: Легион
Title: Апокалипсис
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: USSR
Release date: 1986

Track List:
  1. Апокалипсис (instrumental)
  2. Легион
  3. Мир под cекретом
  4. Мираж
  5. Осень (Листопад)
  6. Волшебник
  7. Чемпион
  8. S.O.S. 
Легион/Legion were one of the first Soviet metal bands, if not the very first. There's some confusion regarding the year when they were formed - 1979 or 1981, depending on source. The most reliable guess is that the band was around in some form since 1979, but the solid line-up was established in 1981, when Alexey Bulgakov joined them as a vocalist (his vocals were and still are the strongest side of Legion).

This demo tape, called "Apocalypse", came out in 1986 but, like in case with the year or formation, I don't know for sure when these songs were written and recorded. All these songs (except for the intro) were re-recorded in better quality for the "Best Of 1980-1987" compilation that came out in 1997, and according to its release notes, tracks #3, #4 and #6 are from 1980. Well, if they were playing anything like this in 1980-1981, then they definitely were the first band in the USSR whose music was unquestionably metal. Metal recordings made in USSR before 1985 were very scarce, and most of them sound more like mid-70's hard rock than their NWOBHM contemporaries. This demo, on the other hand, is 100% NWOBHM-style metal. Legion also are rumoured to have an earlier demo titled "Битва" (Fight), which was recorded either in 1981 or 1984, but it's nowhere to be found (Legion's official site is of no help too), so we can only wonder what it sounded like...

Legion's first live show took place in 1984 and resulted in a scandal - apparently because they were more heavier and had more provocative lyrics than other Soviet rock bands of that time (but pretty average by NWOBHM standards). The band is still very active today, but they're too stereotypically "old school metal" for my taste. This recording, however, deserves attention due to its historical importance, and even its poor quality of production helped to preserve the spirit of that time (if you want these songs recorded in better quality, search for the 1997 compilation I mentioned above). Like many 70's and early 80's Soviet rock tapes, it was released without a cover, but you can have a band photo instead:

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