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Monday, June 17, 2013

He Is Legend -- It Hates You

 photo 220px-Ithatesyouupdated_zpseacf7f54.jpg

By the end of 2004, I was too old for most of Solid State Records' roster. Since I grew up with old school metal and Solid State in its infancy, all the screamo bands the label had been signing at the time seemed beneath my college graduate ears. I lumped He Is Legend into that group to ignore, which may not have been entirely fair. Eventually, screamo morphed into whatever-core or something, but He Is Legend morphed into something else entirely: a group of dudes who just wanted to play the music they liked, regardless of popular tastes. Apparently, what He Is Legend really like is atmospheric rock music, and that's what I like, too, so everything worked out for the best. I'm hungry.
It Hates You is quite a collection of music. The performances sound like they are coming from a virtuoso group who know how to restrain themselves. He Is Legend are a band who can go heavy, but instead make the heaviness on It Hates You more of a "presence" thing, and not a screamy, smashy thing. This is comparable to smelling the greatest Christmas Dinner ever versus someone power-funneling blended Big Macs down your throat.
What is wrong with this review?
It is more difficult to describe music that doesn't adhere to genre rules than just tagging some words on a review of cookie-cutter crap. There ain't no cookie-cutter crap on It Hates You, just cookies. Like the old McDonalds cookies from the 80's that tasted like God baked them in Heaven. How did I just make negative and positive comparisons to McDonald's in the same review? You know what, this album's cover features an in-flight Pteranodon vomiting a laser beam at an unsuspecting ostrich's head. I'm gonna say whatever comes to mind in this review. Actually, I think the insanity of the cover contains some hidden depth about the difficulties of transformation. According to science, the Pteranodon, a flying, intelligent, dinosaur-like reptile, is an evolutionary precursor for birds, including the terrestrial-bound ostrich on the album cover. Through millions of years of evolution, the Pteranodon, a majestic, soaring creature, morphed into a flightless dunderhead, stuck with the stigma of burying its head in the sand when it is afraid. In other words, the Pteranodon used to be something awesome, and now it is something not. That's a major lyrical theme to It Hates You, turning from man to monster in a sense, though the music has actually transformed in the opposite direction, from trendish to rocking and transporting and haunting and powerful. Vocalist, Schuylar Croom, whose voice reminds me of a gritty, ballsy Sting, explores...pig freckles, now all I can think about are those McDonald's cookies. Wonder if anybody has any on Ebay?
Just go listen to this song and try not to smoke a cigarette after, okay?

2009 Tragic Hero
1. Dicephalous 4:04
2. Party Time!!! 4:13
3. Everyone I Know Has Fangs 3:26
4. The Primarily Blues 3:52
5. Cult of She 3:27
6. Stranger Danger 7:32
7. Don't Touch That Dial 4:14
8. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions 4:51
9. Future's Bright, Man 3:45
10. China White III 5:31
11. That's Nasty 5:35
12. Mean Shadows 6:50

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