THEPRP REVIEWS

He Is Legend White Bat

Spinefarm Records 2019

White bat out of hell.

He Is Legend - White Bat

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Back in 2009 He Is Legend delivered a bonafide cult classic in the form of their full-length album “It Hates You“. Unfortunately for them, that record arrived via label deal gone sour and never quite got its due, resulting in a hiatus following not long afterwards.

Regrouping a few years later and having since delivered two memorable albums—not too mention the years spent years on the road behind them—the group have returned with what may just go down as their career highpoint in the form of “White Bat“.

A rowdier and outright heavier affair than their past few albums, “White Bat” finds the band adding considerable heft to their craft. Built atop a fluid foundation that teeters the balance between abrasive noisy rock and emotive alternative metal even further, the band craft an expressive sonic smorgasbord filled with surprise.

While word of the album having more bite may excite listeners of the group’s earlier catalogue, be warned that this more of an evolution of their past few records than a round trip to their scrappier days. As with those recent efforts, there’s a pervading unease afoot that fuels explosive bouts of creativity.

What He Is Legend continue to excel at is making these dynamic transitions feel organic without ever snagging themselves on the larger than life hooks. In this day and age just about anyone could write a song with enough technological aid; but few could make them feel as lived in and heartfelt as this band.

From Southern-tinged sleaze and dive bar wisdom to sludgy bludgeoning and vagabond blues, they soak up the indignities and imperfections of the world before them and channel them accordingly. Speaking of which, frontman Schuylar Croom shines on this outing, sneering and skulking through foreboding tales of what appears to be everything from outraged culture shock (“Burn All Your Rock Records“) to the apparent perverse thoughts of a serial killer readying his latest victim (“The Interloper“).

What stands out most about Croom‘s immaculately layered performance though is how he weaves an actual story through the lyrics. Be it the seemingly old world witchy forest worshipping found in the searing “When The Woods Were Young” or the bewildered lovelorn discomfort strung throughout “Uncanny Valley“, Croom‘s soulful honesty helps any yarn he spins ensnare the listeners attention.

Catapulted forth by gnawing basslines, succinctly crunchy guitars and pushy drumming, there’s a feverish delight to be found here. While the above elements could be considered meat and potatoes stuff by most standards, it’s what He Is Legend do with them that counts. That they aren’t afraid to flourish their material with understated backing tracks, mild electronic flourishes and more only sweetens the pot.

If there were any valid complaints to be leveled against the record, it would be that the heaviest fare is mostly front-loaded with the second half of the record being a more melancholic descent. Even so, there are flares of aggression found throughout all but the most wistful works found here.

With the band’s ravenous hunger and blue collar pride in their craft as charismatic as ever, this is truly an experience work picking apart. An adventurous romp where a bizarre collection of odds and ends are stitched together with racing hearts and unfiltered soul to deliver something apologetically human, warts and all.

Buy it now on Amazon | iTunes

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