He Is Legend


Written by: TL on 28/05/2017 19:19:32

North Carolina's He Is Legend is a strange band, and one it feels weird to discover as still being alive and kicking, as they recently released their fifth album "few". The band made a break on the MySpace-centric metalcore scene of the 00s, despite being of a much more southern persuasion sound-wise than your BlessTheFalls and such. Their strangeness comes less from the odd artists you can find in the "Similar Artists" section on streaming services though, and more from how they mix their ingredients within their spectrum though.

More of a "heavy rock" than a decisively metal album, "few" proves to be a rather eclectic listen over its 43 minutes. The southern vibe is pervasive, yet on some songs, like "Beaufort", "Silent Gold" or "Alley Cat", you can find sleazy, funky riffage that brings to mind Jane's Addiction or Guns N' Roses, while on others, like "Jordan" or "Eastern Locust", you can find churning, grinding, atmospheric and metallic riffage that feels more akin to something like Mastodon. The contrast always feels more spontaneous than forced, though, similar to the feeling you can get with Deftones, of a band that fits things that are primitively heavy with things dreamy and obscure in ways you hadn't thought of.

It feels a bit like listening something tribal, with tribesmen banging instruments with swagger and balls hanging low, only for a mysterious shaman to step forward now and then, dampening the ruckus to chant mysteriously and communicate with the spirits. Singer Schuylar Croom is unique in his capacity to lend his voice to both moods, putting out both raspy, angry rants and roars, as well as soulful and bluesy singing style (prominent especially in less rumbling tracks like "Call Ins" and "Fritz The Dog").

At twelve tracks and 43 minutes, it would be a stretch to say that He Is Legend makes this all work impeccably all the way through. The album does get to feeling longish, which seems like a result of odd sequencing choices, wildly winding song structures and occasions where it feels like vocals and instruments weren't really thought of with each other in mind. But it's never really boring. There's too much creativity, movement and off-kilter charisma in the record for that.

In tracks like the single "Sand" for instance, things come together well, with Croom putting in a catchy chorus atop some rhythmically peaking stabs from the guitars. "Silent Gold" is also cool, with the tempo and the roll of the riff under the chorus lending a charming confidence to its threatening lyrics. And then there's the straight up corrosive "Jordan", which sees the band at its most chugging and metallic, only to also see it take a genius turn into a swooning chorus section that makes for a sweet and distinct contrast.

"few" then, is overall a record that proves that He Is Legend still has ideas to spare and remains a band that, while they might not always have all their ideas lined up perfectly, they can be trusted to combine things in unusual ways that make it feel worthwhile checking up on them every now and then.

Download: Sand, Silent Gold, Jordan
For The Fans Of: The Damned Things, Every Time I Die, Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster
Listen: facebook.com/HeIsLegendNC

Release date 28.04.2017
Spinefarm Records

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