North Carolina’s He Is Legend is back!
It’s funny, while doing a completely different review I touched upon one record that was career-defining while the follow up was pretty goddamn great but a grower. And while I wouldn’t put HIL in the same category as this other local band sound-wise (Review coming soooooon, though), the same can almost be said regarding It Hates You and Heavy Fruit.
It Hates You was that career-defining record for me and Heavy Fruit, while a welcome return from the hiatus’d rockers took a bit to leave an impression. few, on the other hand, is obviously apparent the He Is Legend album fans have been waiting for from the minute “Air Raid” blasts out of the speakers until the closing pangs of “The Garden” ring out.
“Air Raid” was previewed on the road previously and is just as energetic and visceral in its recorded version and the perfect opener for He Is Legend’s fifth long player. “Beaufort” keeps that energy flowing and is the sound of He Is Legend firing on all cylinders as inspired songwriting blends with beautifully executed arrangements wonderfully (Especially those Adam Tanbouz and Denis Desloge guitar trade off’s). In other words: It fuckin’ rawks!
“Silent Gold” keeps that momentum going with Schuylar Croom croonin’ amongst the shimmering guitar lines gradually picking up the pace and building into a proper HIL banger. Then “Alley Cat” slinks its’ way in all sexy-like before “Gold Dust” gives a momentary reprieve from all the heavy with Croom’s serenades and a percussion-filled intro until turning into a full on balls out rocker.
In the great tradition of HIL thematic vocal melodies and lines flowing within albums (And from album-to-album occasionally), the one-two kicker of “Call Ins” and “Eastern Locust” keeps that trend going strong on album number five. “Call Ins” is the quiet lead in with Croom silkily decreeing that “As long as you’re free/I cannot be” which is flipped on its’s head with “Eastern Locust”, a decidedly more menacing affair with the singer gruffly declaring “As long as I’m free/You will never be”.
And in classic He Is Legend epic closing style (Lookin’ at you, “(((louds”, “Heavy Fruit”, and “Mean Shadows”), “The Garden” is a rollicking sludgefest with Matty Williams’ low end bringing the heaviness as Croom concludes the record showcasing almost all of his massive array of vocal styles as Tanbouz and Desloge serve up a veritable shredfest of riffage.