He Is Legend still have it

“Few” brings heavy rock ‘n’ roll in seldom-heard strength.



Maxwell Heilman, Writer

Hailed as “your favorite band’s favorite band” by Alternative Press, He Is Legend have remained one of the independent rock and metal scene’s best-kept secrets. Originally stemming from Solid State Records alongside bands like Underoath, Showbread and Norma Jean, their rustic grit progressively led them out from metalcore into southern metal, and more recently, stoner rock. It is within this template that the North Carolina four-piece follow up 2014’s “Heavy Fruit” with their newest offering — “Few.”

fiery zest for sheer unadulterated power

He Is Legend have always excelled in one vital category: songwriting. In a style known for tired machismo and brain-dead, beer-chugging anthems, they have always presented themselves with nuance and precision. “Few” is no different. On face value, this album features 12 songs’ worth of awesome rock ’n’ roll, and it could certainly be appreciated on that level. “Air Raid,” “Sand” and “Beaufort” draw attention towards this from the beginning with fiery zest for sheer unadulterated power.

Chunky riffs, sludgy guitar tone and concussive drumming will get blood boiling as commanding singing commingles with distorted yells, but these guys do far more than turn mosh pits into warzones. Even within bare-boned aggression, a seemingly endless supply of distinct grooves keep every song from becoming stale. “Alley Cat” and “Jordan” exemplify this wonderfully, with the former’s use of bluesy leads leaving room for a hard-swinging Black Sabbath-esque riff and the latter juggling caveman slugfests and a tension-filled halftime. However, what never changes is the band’s healthy respect for heavy darkness.

He Is Legend does not sell “Few” on overt experimentation. Deeper cuts like “Gold Dust” and “Eastern Locust” maintain the album’s momentum with instinctive arrangement choices and choosing the perfect notes. These two tracks sound nothing alike, yet never branch out of what fans have come to expect. Even Curveballs like the ballady “Call Ins,” and the quirky, almost Louisiana-style swing of “Fritz the Dog” feel natural within the band’s broad swath of creativity. These guys simply know what good rock music sounds like and churn it out with incredible ease.

impending doom

“Vampyre’s” tectonic chords and dissonant single-note lines accentuate the creeping dread this album carries with it throughout its runtime. Although based on power, this record continually evokes a vague sense of impending doom. Whether through ominous lyrics and vocal croonings or plodding minor-key guitar strains, “Few” carries weighty disconsolate throughout its runtime.

“The Garden” brings things to a glorious head by balancing He Is Legend’s sluggish heaviness and propulsive toughness. Featuring the most bludgeoning riffs on the entire record, this song destroys everything in its path. Yet, in the midst of this destructive finale, catchy vocal melodies keep the track as hooky as it is grimy. “Few” successfully bridges the gap between grunge and doom metal, keeping things palatable enough for those looking for good old-fashioned southern rock while keeping metalheads happy through evident brutality.

“Few” comes by way of musicians who have their craft down to a science. These four know what they do and how to do it well. Without any bells or whistles to hide behind, they once again release an unstoppable collection of no-nonsense rock songs with the robust beauty and apparent originality they have built their career around. He Is Legend proves they can still churn out 45 minutes of unapologetic bangers 14 years after they formed.

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