Album Review: HE IS LEGEND few
Let's cut right to the chase: He Is Legend is one of the most underrated, under-appreciated bands in all of metal. During the I Am Hollywood era, they leaned further toward the post-hardcore end of the spectrum, but there was still and ever-present metal bite that reared its head more on their second, southern-fried record Suck Out the Poison. By the time the band released their third, critically-acclaimed record It Hates You, He Is Legend had morphed into something that had really never been heard before. They seamlessly blended pop song structures and infectious choruses with decidedly metal qualities, crafting a masterpiece that has stood the test of time and sounds fresh, even now, eight years later.
After a brief hiatus that seemed like an eternity, He Is Legend returned with the equally monumental Heavy Fruit in 2014, which furthered their musical evolution into here, and now, 2017, with the release of the band's hugely anticipated fifth record, few. He Is Legend decided to go the crowdfunding route this time around, and funded the creation of few with a campaign that was extremely successful, raising a total of over $71,000. Obviously, those who know this band love them unabashedly, and few is the perfect example of why.
Opening cut "Air Raid" showcases all of the qualities that make He Is Legend one of a kind: driving rhythms, killer riffs, heartfelt melodies and a rock n' roll ambiance that's second to none. He Is Legend properly defines the state of what rock should be in 2017 with their willingness to think outside the box and blur boundaries between more aggressive styles of music. "Sand" is a banger of a tune that'll have you headbanging furiously one moment and singing your heart out the next, all in the span of under three minutes. In fact, few is full of quick, easily digestible tunes that are fun as hell to jam and even more fun to revisit.
He Is Legend's secret weapon lies in Schuylar Croom's soulful vocals and Adam Tanbouz's complete and utter mastery of his instrument. The dude's a freaking monster on the guitar and writes some of the most badass and memorable riffs around, not to mention his lead playing is as tasteful as it is skillful. His extensive musical vocabulary combined with Croom's raspy yet powerful range as frontman are what contribute to He Is Legend's instantly recognizable sound; no other band but He Is Legend could write songs like "Alley Cat" or "Silent Gold" and pull it off the way they do. Of course, it would be remiss to not mention Matt Williams on bass, whose funky, groove-laden basslines are just as much an integral part of the He Is Legend sound.
The band enlisted Adam "Nolly" Getgood of Periphery fame to mix few, making it the best sounding production for them to date, hands-down. The guitars bite harder, the low-end is more pronounced, and Croom's vocals soar like a well-fed crow. As is typical of a He Is Legend record, musical variety is aplenty, but it seems that few is the sound that they've been striving for all along. They seem more comfortable than ever before in their own skin this time around, and it shows in the way they execute softer tracks such as "Call Ins" as well as the heavier tracks like "Jordan."
The record closes out on a high note with "The Garden," a song that begins like a Black Sabbath dirge and ends like a Deftones ballad, complete with a southern-tinged, Meshuggah-like riff that drives the song to its fade out; three very different styles that He Is Legend somehow manage to mesh and make their own. Therein lies the artistic genius of this band; they don't give a crap about trends, they just seek to write good music, and write it they do. Few bands seem to have this mentality when it comes to music in this day and age – indeed, He Is Legend is part of the few.
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