North Carolina riff masters He Is Legend have been kicking around for some years now, and now they’re here with their sixth full-length record, ‘White Bat’.
And in the early stages of the record, we seem to be off to a flyer. The opening title-track has the energy levels turned up very high indeed for the start, with the intro being almost mathcore; it leads nicely into their signature high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll.
A great slice of punk-inspired fun and riffing comes with an iconoclastically-titled ‘Burn All Your Rock Records’. They may not be a metalcore band like they once were, but there’s still plenty of screamed vocals and chugging riffs to be found. Their slightly Southern rock-tinged riffing and the unmistakable snarled vocal delivery of Schuylar Croom prove to be a winning combination.
‘When The Woods Were Young’ continue in a similar vein, with Croom‘s swagger being front and center. The punk rock ‘Eye Teeth’ keeps us in gear, helped by the neat vocal harmonies on display. At this point, the band are firing on all cylinders – it only seems natural for some of the succeeding tracks to be a little slower.
‘Talking Stalker’ has a slower start, yet this song is more centered around a slow build which is very effective, and the band mange to do this more than once, with ‘Bent’ also offering a similar technique.
It’s a very strong record, even if there are some weaker moments. One on is which is the questionable stuttering vocal sample used in ‘Resister Resist Her’, which feels incredibly jarring, and shoehorned onto the song for the sake of it.
And whilst the more brooding ‘Uncanny Valley’ certainly adds some stylistic depth with it being a lighter take on their sound, tracks like this and ‘The Interloper’ bring the energy down slightly; the quieter moments of the record generally lull a little bit rather than providing respite. This probably isn’t helped by the noticeably compressed production, but this is only a minor issue.
Thankfully, the energy returns for ‘Skin So Soft’, which ends with a monstrous riff and then a blast beat. And it’s safe to say that for the later stages of the record, the fun-natured aspects have returned.
‘Boogiewoman’ ends the album on a high note, with an effortlessly cool swagger about it. After a teasing fade-out, the main chugged riff comes back to close the record. Even if the album peaks a little early, there’s a lot of fun to be had with ‘White Bat’, and this is another thrilling, encompassing album in the He Is Legend discography.