"[Eight] years and three albums
into their career, Legion Within
are a steadily rising force
in the arena of modern music"
ReGen Magazine

Legion Within’s fourth album, Mouth of Madness, was released June 16, 2009 through KMFDM Records. Their first formal release, Mouth of Madness displayed Legion Within as a mature, seasoned outfit who have seamlessly blended the best elements of darkwave and industrial into their own distinctive genre of dark rock. Mouth of Madness followed 2007’s the empty men, which enjoyed exclusive pre-release online distribution via KMFDMStore.com.

Founded in 2000 by singer-songwriter William Wilson, Legion Within has experienced a few band-member changes, with the current line-up being– you could say– rock solid. Mouth of Madness features the talents and skills of Wilson (vocals, guitar), Shannon Cole (guitars), Erica Butler-Branch (bass), Aaron Nicholes (percussion), and Jasyn Byrum (synths). This formula is, without one shred of a single doubt, their strongest yet.

Wilson’s romantic tenor crooning has been compared to the likes of David Bowie and Peter Murphy, while his minimalist and ebony-laden guitar style has drawn more consistent comparisons to Daniel Ash. Cole has been with Legion Within from its very inception.  His echoing “whale sounds” guitar style is keen evidence of his Pink Floyd and King Crimson influences. Long-time member Butler-Branch has been writing with Wilson for seven years.  She’s been performing music since she was but five years old, is a multi-instrumentalist (including clarinet and drums) and has played bass in punk, goth and prog bands. Recent welcome additions Nicholes and Byrum create a hard-hitting, electroni,c and industrial base on which to build Legion Within’s sonic offerings. Their modern foundation supports the darkwave soundscapes that Wilson, Cole, and Butler painstakingly construct.

Crafting Mouth of Madness over was an arduous, two-year process. Written throughout a time when band member’s lives were rife with personal tragedy and sudden upheaval, disquiet and strife reside heavily within the music. The songs range from romance, escapism, and tragedy, to tongue-in-cheek dark humor and flights of sadistic and sardonic fancy.

Synth-laden, shimmering, and danceable, “Someone’s Speaking” opens the album.  An immediate and now long-time crowd favorite at live shows, it even had fans dancing during its debut. In the title track, “Mouth of Madness”, dark lyrics about conspiracy and oppression are set against an infectious backbeat with infectiously hooky guitar-lines. Both “Golden Voyage” and “Demon’s Arm” reveal classic Legion Within roots through contemplative and memorable lyrics, swirling instrumental breaks, and rolling percussion. “Demon’s Arm” began as a song influenced by Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti-western soundtracks, and was completed by recording lilting and sorrowful vocals by Wilson’s mother, who is a trained operatic singer.

On the haunting and groovy “Try to See Me”, tribal drums, seething guitar, and ominous synth-lines surround Wilson’s desperate plea for human connection.  Mournful cello and serene vocals paint a gentle grappling with the convoluted array of feelings at a dearly departed family member in “Memories of You”.

Legion Within Band Members

On the haunting and groovy “Try to See Me”, tribal drums, seething guitar, and ominous synth-lines surround Wilson’s desperate plea for human connection. Mournful cello and serene vocals paint a gentle grappling with the convoluted array of feelings at a dearly departed family member in “Memories of You”.

If you’re thinking Legion Within solely focuses on reflecting inwardly: don’t. They’ve worked hard to garner a reputation for frank political opinions and an abhorrence for passivity. “So Happy” is peppy and punky with anti-consumerism lyrics chiding complacency. “Mall Cops of Freedom” is a farcical poke at the reactionary tendencies of a society ruled by fear.  Big-band horns and doo-wop backing vocals give a lighthearted rib-jab to the ominous tale. “The Empire is Burning” includes angst-laden shouts by The Angry Mob. The band packed almost 30 fans, family, and friends into Jules Hodgson’s Black Lab Studios (where Mouth of Madness was recorded, mixed and produced), and for each take, Wilson inspired anxiety by conjuring misery inducing and starkly realistic desperate situations like “Banks are foreclosing on your home! Your family’s fighting for a cardboard box!” The results brilliantly speak for themselves.

William Wilson graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a double major in Political Science and Film/Media Studies. The double major was borne from his inability to escape awareness of the manipulation and control via The Media that feeds into political corruption and oppression. Wilson expresses these frustrations and passions fluidly through Legion Within’s music. Bouncing back from the industrial political-angst of 07’s the empty men, Mouth of Madness embraces the current political and emotional climate with a firm hand. Wilson calls it, “Courageous Nihilism. From day one we are all doomed. But that’s just the way it is, we deal with it.”

Legion Within’s musical evolution has been natural, yet immense. The debut album Ayumi, which was called, “beautiful gothic atmospheres with an airy ethereal feel” (Outburn Magazine), segued into ‘04’s goth-rock-akin-to-The Chameleons-AEONS.  As a drastic change in America’s political climate had been boiling underneath, so had a nearly visceral response from key band members Wilson, Cole, and Butler. This expression was showcased in ‘07’s the empty men, with tracks titled “Fascisti”, “Rise” and “Wrath of the Empty Men”.

Their prolific history is a diverse catalog of songs ranging from classic gothic ambiance to aggressive industrial anthems. This versatility in live scenarios has allowed them to successfully open for a wide rage of bands including Peter Murphy, Collide, Voltaire, Audra and God Module.  Legion Within greatly enjoyed opening of KMFDM in 2009.

A dark mosaic of musical genres and styles, Mouth of Madness was most certainly Legion Within’s breakthrough release. “The crowd response to the new material was tremendous,” says Wilson. Legion Within has never pursued the whims of trends and have forged a release about which Wilson concludes, “I think we have really tapped into something quite special.” And there’s more to come.”