‘Here we are. This is the band in its purest form.’ We’re fucking back. We’re here. It’s time to rock.”-Shuylar Croom, He Is Legend vocalist on White Bat
It’s hard to pin down just one “A-ha!” moment on He Is Legend’s 6th long player because, to be honest, the album is filled with them. In the press release for White Bat, Croom says the current era of the band “is in-your-face—dare I say Far Beyond Driven-style—but still rock ‘n’ roll” and while they’re not as visceral as those mighty Texans, this North Carolina-based quartet still deliver an album as raw and vital as the fabled third LP from Pantera.
But I digress!
When starting research for our 2019 preview, I had no idea that He Is Legend would be putting something new out so soon after few hit in the spring of 2017. Then the title track dropped in October of last year and it was fuckin’ on! And now here we are, talking about an album that easily hearkens back to the I Am Hollywood daze but highlighting what master craftsmen He Is Legend has become with their songwriting (That’s a fancy way of calling them “mature”).
The title track is the perfect opener with Jesse Shelley’s bombastic drums welcoming listeners into the opening track of this next sonic carnival as Adam Tanbouz’s guitars shriek alongside Croom’s gruff delivery which culminates with his familiar growl triumphantly declaring “I am the White Bat/Never forget that”. Then “Burn All Your Rock Records” keeps the momentum moving forward and is like this masterclass on how to create the perfect rawk anthem.
“Talking Stalker” is everything that makes He Is Legend great with intricate song structures comprised of time signatures all over the place climaxing in huge choruses with Matty Williams’ bass bringing the boogie as Croom croons out warnings decreeing that listeners should “Watch out for the weirdos/They’re a dozen a dime”.
“Bent” is another mover and groover, shuffling along with a hypnotic chorus from Croom while “Resister, Resist Her” has some of that It Hates You magic going for it. “Uncanny Valley” follows suit with a track that’s just as suited to the IHY mid-section as it does Suck Out The Poison. In other words, pure He Is Legend.
“The Interloper” is something different entirely with these tribal, percussive hits from Shelley to start before Croom highlights the band’s penchant for masterful storytelling once again with vocal melodies similar to the “China White” saga as Williams’ bass flows over all like a comfort blanket while still adding a sinister air.
“Skin So Soft” is just what the doctor ordered after the rollercoaster of the feels that permeated “The Interloper”. This little ditty is all bombastic bashing and off the beat riffage from Tanbouz, ultimately peaking when Croom lets out an ear piercing scream.
“Boogiewoman” starts the ending off right in this ethereal dirge-like fashion before concluding like a legendary closing opus from Down or Crowbar (“Bury Me In Smoke” and “On Frozen Ground” respectively…or earthtone9’s “Binary 101” even) meaning those storied endings of yore where a track fades out only to fade back in for that extra “Oomph”! Kind of like the He Is Legend trajectory when you think about it: fading away after a triumphant pinnacle (The aforementioned It Hates You in 2009) only to subtly and quietly return with albums that keep bringing that “Oomph” with White Bat bringing the loudest “Oomph” so far.
White Bat is out on June 28th through Spinefarm Records. I already pre-ordered my denim jacket which you can get as well as some other cool pre-order bundles now by clicking here and here for straight up digital only. And for the latest on He Is Legend, including upcoming live performances, head on over here and here.