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Foreign Legion – Light At The End Of The Tunnel (ABLP015)

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Format:
LP (250 copies on solid greenmint / 250 copies on clear green w/ red splatter, co-release with Rebel Sound, USA)
CD originally on the band’s previous label KB Records
Description: Welsh punk veterans, established in 1984. Their latest album available on vinyl
Release date: march 13th 2014 (test press approved)
Available: Yes (purchase)
Tracks:
A1 Jenny
A2 What a place to be
A3 Regeneration (council list)
A4 My radio
A5 Hey girl
A6 George Best
B1 Stalker
B2 Market trader
B3 Three years (the untold story)
B4 Miners (The fathers sacrifice)
B5 Drunken heroes
B6 Phoenix from the flame

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Reviews:
Out Of Step (25 march 2014)
The feeling I have lately with a lot of releases within the (street) punk and Oi! genre is that when you heard one you heard it all. Certainly when it comes to Oi/skinhead music, there aren’t a lot of bands that really stand out, but if I need to name a few exceptions: Badlands, Evil Conduct and Bishops Green really kick ass.
At first I had the same feeling with ‘Foreign Legion’ latest album ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ (the album was already released on CD at the end of 2013). These Welsh punks are around for thirty years and in a way its normal that it all sound familiar.
Oh what the hell, I give them the benefit of the doubt. After all these years their old school punk sound, a blend of punk and Oi! with a rock and roll beat, or to quote them: punk rock for the punks and skins, street rock for the chosen few’, with songs full of socio-political topics and homages to their Welsh heritage, still can stand their ground. Rating: 7,5/10

Backstreet Battalion (10 march 2014)
Foreign Legion is well known and long playing clockwork punk band from Wales and this album is from 2013. It was released on CD through KB Records and this is LP version from Rebel Sound/Aggrobeat Records with 12 songs. The band together with The Adicts and Major Accident (they have split album with them) is the main representative of clockwork punk style. Music is calm and funny 77 punk rock with natural voice of the singer and lyrics with a few serious topics (like in songs Miners, Market Trader and 3 Years). Most catchy songs are Hey Girl!, Georgie Best, Miners or the last one Phoenix from the Flame. Lyrics are about crazy woman who stalking at you (Stalker), about parents who didn´t care about their kids and who are drinking much (3Years), about people who have to take dangerous and unhealthy work in mines because they have to take care about their families (Miners), intolerant parents whose daughter run away (Jenny), drinking one Drunken Heroes or complaining of the owner of the small shop which is run over by big companies (Market Trader). Cover is done in similar way as CD, inside is paper with lyrics and photos from the gigs. Vinyl was out in green and green/black version limited to 500 copies (250 for Europe and 250 for the USA). Not bad. Rating: 7/10

Massmovement (3 march 2014)
Thirty years since they first joined up, there’s no leave in sight for these Welsh legionnaires as they crank out their fourth album “Light At The End Of The Tunnel”. Many musical trends have come and gone over the past three decades but the Legion are very much of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” old school, playing classic punk style that puts them alongside other legends such as Menace, The Partisans, The Business or GBH. Simple but effective, with solid punk riffing and punchy vocals throughout. The lyrics are a good mix of songs that tackle serious topics such as child abuse or the sadly ever relevant fate of the miners and the demise of the town centre livelihoods, alongside raucous singalongs such as “Drunken Heroes”. Whilst not being under-produced there is a live feel to this record and a raw honesty that is refreshing to hear in today’s world of auto-tuned digital recordings. Always a great live band, this is an excellent representation of their newest tunes on record.
Tom Chapman

The RingMaster Review (3 march 2014)
As shown by their new album Light At The End Of The Tunnel, Welsh punks Foreign Legion has never strayed too far away from their roots but continue to invigorate and push their core sound with a passion and energy which never becomes tiresome. The band’s latest riot bridges their old school punk/oi background with a modern punk ‘n’ roll confrontation resulting in twelve songs which make swift anthemic stabs with contagious endeavour aligned to antagonistic intent.
Formed in 1984, Foreign Legion has built an attention grabbing presence which has endured and widened over the years. A trio of full-length releases continued to set the band apart from the pack, especially the acclaimed Mick Jones produced What Goes Around Comes Around of 2002, whilst split releases with Major Accident in 2000 and Sledgeback in 2010 amidst their own EPs and compilation gracing songs, have proved the band a potent encounter within the modern era of punk rock. On stage again the quartet has forged a formidable reputation, the band playing across over 15 countries and sharing stages with bands such as Cockney Rejects, Guitar Gangsters, Control, The Warriors, GBH, The Ruts, Stiff Little Fingers and many more. They are also the only Welsh band to play the legendary CBGB’s in New York which makes an additional potent mark on their career’s CV alongside their numerous festival appearances including the likes of Back On The Streets, Punk & Disorderly and the Rebellion Festival, where the band is set to ignite the crowd again in 2014. Released via Aggro Beat in Europe as a Green With Red Splatter vinyl and Rebel Sound in the US as an equivalent in Mint Green with both issues limited to 250, Light At The End Of The Tunnel provides another feisty and tasty morsel from Foreign Legion to enthuse over.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel makes a strong and appealing start with opener Jenny and its successor What A Place To Be, if neither really inspires a greedy appetite in the emotions. Both tracks still grab attention easily to set things off promisingly, the opening song entangling ears with welcoming guitar strands of melody from Simon Bendon punctured by the firm beats of drummer Glyn Bendon. Soon into its stride with the track’s narrative unveiled by founding band member and vocalist Marcus Howells, the restrained and easy to access stroll makes a simple and catchy romp before the second song on the album similarly has feet and voice in tandem with its infectious if undemanding beckoning, the bass of Steve Zuki the most irresistible lure.
The album catches fire from here on in with firstly the excellent Regenerations (Council list. Riffs and rhythms bring an instant entrapment of the imagination before soon being reinforced by the swiping vocals as the song looks g at local governments and the decline of British towns and all that inspires. The track is a contagious two minutes plus of uncomplicated but thoroughly inciting social commentary in the renowned Foreign Legion style, though again maybe there is a spark missing in comparison to the following tracks. There is an undeniable greater potency to the song which the band and album expands further through songs like My Radio. A great bass intro from Zuki sets the track off in compelling style, its swagger and groove matched by the hooks of the guitars and the effect rubbed vocals. Infection again wraps the song, its virulence at new heights for the release with riffs and rhythms an additional thrilling toxic bait.
Both Hey Girl and George Best continue and elevate the new plateau of the album, the first a Peter and the Test Tube Babies meets The Clash like provocation which takes mere seconds to seduce senses and passions whilst the similarly bred second creates a terraces like anthemic quality for an Serious Drinking mixed with Angelic Upstarts eyeballing, both songs enlisting full physical and emotional participation to its recruitment drive. As probably recognised, Light At The End Of The Tunnel just gets stronger and more impressive the further into its body you delve, the likes of Stalker with its deviously addictive bass hook, another striking offering from Zuki who adds something extra to the album arguably lacking on earlier releases, and the excellent Market Trader adding to the weight and bait of the release. The second of the pair again deals with the decline of towns, this through the intervention of supermarket chains and the likes, whilst raging and infecting with resourceful invention.
The uncompromising Three Years, and its unbridled assault on child abuse and feeble punishments, scars and provokes with greater venom and passion within the album before Miners and Drunken Heroes uncages a raw, caustic sonic grazing and belligerent defiance respectively. All three songs stalk and coax with spite and energy before the closing song covers them with its shadow. Phoenix from the Flame is a pure punk rock anthem, a band banner which alone places Foreign Legion band amongst the highest echelons of British punk, its body holding all the cards and bait to ignite crowds and recruit new hearts.
Closing on its finest moment Light At The End Of The Tunnel is an outstanding punk quarrel and maybe the best thing Foreign Legion has set loose to date, certainly the rival to past glories. Punk right now feels like it is moving to a new heyday and records like this only reinforce that notion. Rating: 8.5/10

Crazy United (26 february 2014)
Bereits seit 1984 treiben die Waliser FOREIGN LEGION ihr Unwesen in der Oi!-/ Punkrock-Szene. Nach einigen Veröffentlichungen und Line-Up wechseln legt man nun mit “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” den neuesten Tonträger vor (wenn ich es richtig verstanden habe, nur als Vinyl?!). Die zwölf Songs kommen mit einem schönen Artwork daher (Bergarbeiter mit Schwert), welches die Verbundenheit zur Working Class unterschreicht. Leider fällt mir direkt ein kleiner Nachteil auf. Die Platte müsste einfach mehr “knallen”. Die Songs für sich sind durchweg gut, es gibt feine Melodien und schöne Gitarrensoli, aber es fehlt mir einfach ein bisschen an Kraft. Da hätte man doch noch etwas mehr “Punch” rausholen können. Davon ab kann sich “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” aber wirklich hören lassen. Songs wie “Jenny”, “What A Place To Be”, “George Best”, “Phoenix From The Flame” oder “Miners” sind richtig starke Nummern die schnell ins Ohr gehen und sich dort auch festsetzen. “Light…” ist also alles andere als ein schwaches Album. Wenn die Produktion halt etwas mehr Eier hätte, wäre ich restlos zufrieden. Die Sache mit dem Sound ist sicherlich Geschmackssache, fällt mir (und meinem auf Metal geschulten Gehör) aber leider negativ auf, deshalb leichten Punkteabzug in der B-Note. Trotzdem, starkes Album. Macht Spass!

N.I. PUNK (date unknown)
These Welsh punks, formed way back in 1984, have the distinction of being the only band from Wales to have graced the stage at CBGB! This album was originally released on CD in the latter half of 2013 by KB Records (Germany) and now in 2014 Rebel Sound (USA) and Aggro Beat (Europe) have teamed up to issue this cracking LP on delicious coloured vinyl. Does it sound as good as it looks? You betcha it does! Foreign Legion prove that they still have the passion and fire in their belly’s as they knock out 12 killer punk tunes packed with solid riffs, deft guitar licks and sing-a-long choruses, their blend of punk and oi! reminiscent of bands such as Menace and Angelic Upstarts. The band tackle a range of social and political issues whilst paying homage to their Welsh heritage and life in the Valleys on songs such as ‘Miners’, ‘Regeneration’ and ‘Market Trader’. Vocalist Marcus Howells spits venom on ‘Three Years’, a vitriolic attack on the soft-sentencing of child abusers, then on the other hand pays tribute to football legend ‘George Best’, one of the standout tracks on the album. The other songs on the album are every bit as good but the closing number ‘Phoenix From The Flame’ steals the show with a furious slab of punk pride (and sounding a wee bit like Slaughter and the Dogs). This is a must have for all Foreign Legion fans (and punk fans in general).

ItaXXXthing Blog (12 february 2014)
Foreign Legion have had quite the career through the past 30 odd years. Forming in 1984 out of the ashes of Punk band Dead On Arrival, they formed Foreign Legion who were more Oi! based. Throught their career they have released 4 full length albums including a split album with the legendary Major Accident and having their album “What Goes Around Comes Around” produced by the one and only Mick Jones of The Clash fame! This new record marks the start of a new era and has given them a whole new (pardon the pun) “legion” of fans.
The album starts with the slightly off-putting intro of “Jenny” but the song soon kicks in with it’s catchy chorus of “Jenny’s in love with a skinhead boy/She likes Punk and Oi! Oi! Oi!”.”What A Place To Be”, “Market Trader” and “Regeneration (Council Estate)” are the heavywight tracks here though.
The album sounds like a mix between Rancid with a tinge of Sham 69 thrown in for good measure ; that certainly isn’t a mix that will fail. A few of the songs have topics that do seem a bit dated now with the same politicised lyrics they had back in the 80’s and most of the time they do kinda miss the nail but that doesn’t affect the music which is on top form. Rating: 7/10

Oi! Oi! Music! Blog (15 october 2013)
Foreign Legion from Wales was originally founded in 1984 and like many punk bands of that era they called it a day when the punk scene deceased by the late 80ies and early 90ies. When entering the new millenium the band reformed and became more active than ever. Since those days the boys played all over mainland Europe and the USA and released three new full-lengths and a bunch of (split) EP’s.
I think Foreign Legion is a band almost everyone is familiar with and most people will probably own a few EP’s or comilations featuring songs from the boys. But despite this i also think the band never got the appreciation they deserved.
Last month the band released their new album. Compared to previous recordings the band continues what they always do and what they do best; Straight forward upbeat punk tunes inspired by the likes of The Lurkers, The Partisans, Menace, Sham 69, etc.
Although this album is only issued on CD so far, i think the imaginary B-side is the best part of this album. Three Years is a more aggressive uptempo song about child molestion, while the song Miners is a more subdued song about the hard days of work Welsh miners had to do. The album ends with the (autobiographic?) songs Drunken Heroes and Phoenix From The Flame which both hold good singalong chorusses. Rating: 3.5/5

Uberrock Magazine (31 august 2013)
Proving that it’s not just mad dogs and Englishmen that have the Punk scene sewn up Welsh legends Foreign Legion have produced a new album for 2013 that is strong on grooves and flooded with street level honesty. Longtime frontman Marcus Howells, twenty nine years in charge of the Legion, returns to action with FL’s first new studio album since 2007. With a well armed line up that is completed by Glyn Bendon (drums), Si Bendon (guitar) and this year’s addition of Demob man Steve Zuki on bass ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ proves there’s still plenty of fight left in the Legion.
Sticking to the battle plan set by previous albums like ‘Death Valley’ and the earlier Mick Jones produced ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ the Legion fire out twelve heavy hitters, each coloured with an individual style. ‘Jenny’ is first from the blocks and explodes into skinhead life. The first thing of note is the sound of the bass, it’s positively alive and buzzing. A rhythmic heartbeat of excellence that pounds away at the core of each successive track providing a rock steady platform for the quick firing drums to rally around. Cracking guitar work from Si throughout complements each track one by one. ‘What A Place To Be’ proves this point, opening with a solid riff that could raise the roof of any venue a good few inches.
Fiercely proud of their Welsh heritage there’s a good few numbers that have heartfelt foundations laid deep within Valley life. ‘Regeneration (Council List)’ is the first of these to air but it’s a tale that could be told in any number of towns around the British isles right now as history is slowly left to waste away as a result of lazy civil servants only interested in serving themselves. Likewise, ‘Market Trader’ is another that can be used to draw parallels with a nationwide situation, the independent minority slowly suffocating from the ever growing presence of the supermarket elite blocking the sun from once thriving shop windows. Tales of the harsh reality we live in delivered with biting accuracy.
Going underground, quite literally, ‘Miners’ digs deep with a passionate salute to the tireless men who worked through the blackness and dust to put food on the family table. A song that stands in contrast to the behaviour of the harpies within ‘Market Trader’ and ‘Regeneration’.
Bassist Steve takes control of the vocals for ‘My Radio’, berating the vapid airwaves of the modern age. “Music is profit, the passion is gone!”, that’s not an accusation that can be leveled at these guys as they clearly play with their hearts on their sleeves. Another fine tune, but something of a departure from familiar ground having someone other than Sergeant Marcus barking orders from behind the mic. Corporal Zuki may be a great addition to the crew from Fort Zinderneuf but Marcus is soon back in charge, re-suited and Doc Marten booted as ‘George Best’ tackles the subject of rose tinted nostalgia through a ninety seven second blast of energy. A raucous throwback to the days of green hair and bondage suits. It’s quick, glorious and defiant all in one. Pure adrenalin and hell of a catchy. Sure to go down a storm live.
The sonic punch of ‘Three Years’ and the spitting hate filled delivery of Howells is as brutal as the subject matter within. A tirade of flames burns abusive parents finally brought to book for their heinous treatment of a child only to be given a sentence that is nothing more than a sick joke. “Let them fucking rot!” is the core element lashed out by the Legion boys here, surely a sentiment any right minded individual can get behind.
Lightening the mood, anyone familiar with Italian street punk vinyl will recognise ‘Drunken Heroes’ from the seven inch split with Cervelli Stanki. ‘…Heroes’ throws a rowdy fist into the fray with furious vibes running riot like fast flowing streams of whiskey. A standout track for sure and one that defines the Legion sound in 2013.
Running at just over twenty nine minutes ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ stands proud as a short, sharp beauty of an album. Not one of the dozen dynamic songs outstays its welcome. They sweep in and crash out with devastating precision, cutting deep with a message one minute then flying high with an infectious chorus the next. Marching out to the strains of ‘Phoenix From The Flame’ the sound of the Welsh streets cranks up for the final time with a two minute fix of fury and punk rock pride. Legion’s back on fire alright, don’t you doubt it for a minute!
Matt Phelps

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This entry was posted on December 29, 2013 by in Releases and tagged , .
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