Artist He Is Legend
Album Heavy Fruit
Year Released: 19 August 2014
Label Tragic Hero Genre Hard Rock | Stoner Rock | Sludge
It is dusk, a late night dinner with an old friend. Instead of spending time trying to catch up with what has happened over the last five years, your friend details all about the new and exciting opportunities in his life. He is enlightened, more mature and ready to take on the world. That is how listening to the new He Is Legend album Heavy Fruit is for me. Their first album since 2009’s It Hates You finds the band returning to form with sludgy guitar riffs and increasing dynamics.
One of the biggest gripes for me of the last He Is Legend album was the predictable and somewhat sluggish pace. The tracks tried hard to be different, but they came off as either cheesy or lacking impact. Whatever happened in the last five years since has allowed for the band to bring subtle changes to their songs that spark fireworks of sound.
“No Visitors” kicks off Heavy Fruits with the southern tinged grooves we all are familiar with, but spirals forward into a hectic whiskey-tipped, drum-driven part before abruptly stopping again. The vocal melodies are incredible, equipped with luscious harmonies and controlled pitches. Schuylar Croom, in charge of the vocals, does not scream much on this album, instead showing off his beautiful singing voice.
Everything on this album showcases the improved talent of the songwriting. “This Will Never Work” is a guitar players dream. Flaunting blues riffs, the song has walk-up scales bending in the chorus with twangy distortion licked over the tone. “Spout Mouth” forces out minor chords and changes in the key, with everyone reacting with the appropriate mood. Lead single and appetizer “ABRACADABRA” is the heavy southern-blooded affair to keep the back half of the album fresh and tasty.
The slow songs on the album are brought to the table with better delivery. Instead of limping along, songs like “Something, Something, Something Witchy” and “Bethozart” have rich layers to keep the songs moving from start to finish. What starts as slow dances for “Smoker Scoff” and “Heavy Fruit” end in punch-throwing fashion as the songs expand in sound and beatdowns as they continue on. “Be Easy” is a jazzy blues track prancing around with slides and delicious bass licks.
For me, it was the third track, “Miserable Company,” that gave me the impression that He Is Legend is back and ready to plunge to the top. What starts as a bass heavy ballad oohs and ahhs it’s way to a palm muted, kick drum infested melodic section. Around the 3:30 mark the band lets go of all of their intentions to lash out with a heavy section that is sure to spark a pit at any live show. The band even gives a resting period to reflect on what just happened as the song closes out.
Heavy Fruit is the He Is Legend album fans have been waiting for. A little lengthy for my tastes, but the improved dynamics make sure the band can keep listeners at attention with their improved melodies. Welcome back to the genre, and thanks for the dinner invite.