He Is Legend
(Tragic Hero Records)
I’m at that perfect age when you think you’re getting old (which may or not be true), but reminiscing about old favorite albums tends to make a person feel old. It’s been almost ten years since I received He Is Legend’s debut full-length, I Am Hollywood, as a glorious birthday present. Surprisingly, that album still holds up very well after all these years. Some of the breakdowns strewn about the album are the best in the business, even a decade later. Of course, this isn’t about the past; it’s about the present and future, which is legendary.
Well, the band had some decisions, decisions, decisions to make. After a five year hiatus, He Is Legend had a lot to prove. Could the band seduce listeners back to its corner, even without a “China White IV” in sight? It only takes one listen to be fully seduced by whatever witchy thing He Is Legend has brewing. If “This Will Never Work” isn’t the catchiest song of the band’s career, it’s absolutely in the running. “Be Easy” is more playful than a puppy. “ABRACADABRA” has more swagger than James Bond, Dirty Harry, and Sam Spade combined. Try your best to be disappointed, but that’s a fruitless endeavor.
It clearly didn’t hurt that the band’s members have put in some truly spirited work on the album. Vocalist Schuylar Croom hasn’t sounded this good and in absolute control of his voice since I Am Hollywood, and his hooks are stellar throughout the record. Further credit must be given to guitarist Adam Tanbouz, whose riffs and licks are equally potent, no matter where the wheel of subgenres lands. That’s probably the most endearing part of Heavy Fruits, though. While It Hates You hinted at the powerful transformation the band was heading towards, Heavy Fruits is the fruit of that transition. There are many reference points to He Is Legend’s sound, but no one else that sounds that much like the band, or at least is as great at what it does. He Is Legend absolutely nails it on Heavy Fruit, with its focused brand of psychedelic, punkish southern rock that even calls back to I Am Hollywood in spots.
When naming the album, it appears Adam’s shockingly heavy riffs were the inspiration. Fear not, He Is Legend hasn’t become a doom metal band, but there are some riffs on here that would make Black Sabbath proud. Elsewhere, the trio of songs starting with “Miserable Company” are a re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s ethereal hard rock, with clearer songwriting and Adam’s nifty leads underpinning Pallbearer-style riffing. He Is Legend hasn’t quite gone all prog on us, but the band’s songwriting prowess ain’t nothing to mess with. You could say the future’s bright, man. (Nicholas Senior)
Purchase Heavy Fruit here: http://tragic-hero.com/heislegend/heavyfruit