He Is Legend - It Hates You
Tragic Hero Records
Metalcore/Post-Hardcore/Stoner Metal
12 songs (62:29)
Release year: 2009
He Is Legend, Tragic Hero Records
Reviewed by Elias

He Is Legend are something of a great success story that never really happened. Despite being in the right place at the right time and finding great commercial appeal with their 2004 debut full-length album I Am Hollywood, they somehow failed to use the momentum to launch their career to the heights it might have reached otherwise. He Is Legend play a melodic and accessible metalcore that got them touring with the likes of Killswitch Engage, DragonForce and Chimaira, but never brought them to the same level. Which is surprising, considering that He Is Legend have both the catchiness and energy that so appeal to the current mainstream metal fanbase. Unfortunately for their popularity, however, He Is Legend are much more interested in their music than in their sales. While sticking to the generic airtight metalcore-by-numbers would get them more sales, He Is Legend choose to make music that is actually interesting, incorporating southern rock, post-hardcore and specifically on this record, stoner elements into the music. They have a much wider range of influences and compositional inspiration than their peers do, demonstrated by the covers they perform of bands such as AC/DC, Slayer, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Queens of The Stone Age. This diversification provides a highly enjoyable as well as stimulating listen, and makes them one of the most underrated bands in the metalcore scene.

Less aggressive than 2006’s Suck Out The Poison, It Hates You is more emotionally much more intense and much more cohesive on a compositional plane. There are no predictable, generic breakdowns, no isolated riffs with no other purpose than providing the necessary guitar wankery, and they even through in some unorthodox (for metalcore, at least) rhythmic pattern. The musicians successfully create an interesting hybrid form of metalcore by bringing in unobtrusive yet enriching blues, stoner and southern rock elements. While the lack of exuberance in the instrumentation department and infrequent occurrence of solos is unfortunate, as it would not have hurt at all to insert some virtuosic exhibitionism here and there, it is understandable. When the solos do take place, they are quite unremarkable, and it is obvious that the strongest element of the band is undeniably the voice.

Vocalist Schuylar Croom focuses much more on the melodic importance of his clean vocals rather than screams, giving a raspy blues-like performance. His voice is very strong, with a lot of presence, yet his gravelly roaring carries a melody perfectly without losing the cathartic properties of emotion and passion, at times even resembling the doomy resonance of Janne Christoffersson of Grand Magus and Spiritual Beggar (reinforced by similar guitar sounds used by all three bands, who favour a fuzzy rumble rather than a violent crunch). Croom’s vocal lines are well crafted and relevant to the song as a whole, as well as sufficiently catchy to make you remember the song easily, but not too kitschy to be unpleasant to the ear. The man does really have a killer voice, and the band knows what they’re doing by making him the centre of attention.

Those of you looking for an aggressive, testosterone driven orgy of cliché harmonies and rhythmic riffing honed to a fine point after years of masturbatory practice would be better off seeking among the likes of Killswitch Engage and Trivium. However, those of you with a taste for refined songwriting and passionate delivery will undoubtedly enjoy It Hates You, not to mention the rest of He Is Legend’s back catalogue, of which I will gradually address each album in turn on this very online publication.

Killing Songs :
Dicephalous, Everyone I Know Has Fangs, Don't Touch That Dial
Elias quoted 75 / 100
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