Review Summary: Good vocals, pounding guitars, and great production cannot cover up the fact that "Valediction" is the same breakdown-infused metalcore we are all used to.
Legend comes from Detroit, Michigan, and are fronted by Chad Ruhlig who used to do vocals in For The Fallen Dreams. Chad has done a good job of using his former band as a gateway to reach kids (yes, KIDS) interested in some more breakdown-laden material than his last band. That being said, FTFD and Legend aren't very similar musically. FTFD is a lot more experimentational in terms of song structure, melody, etc, and just because Chad screams in this band now doesn't mean they are the same. Legend does nothing new at all on this album. However, other people have put it better than I can: your favorite food is your favorite food for a reason. Just because it's the same every time doesn't mean you won't like it next time. That perfectly relates to "Valediction." If the slower spectrum of metalcore is your thing, chances are you will like Legend's debut CD. If it's not, chances are this won't be the record to make you change your mind.
I'll start with some of the obvious negatives relating to these tracks. The first one is the lack of length (or to some people's pleasure) that the CD has. "Illusions of Permanence" is just 30 seconds of static-ridden buildup to the first real song, "In Sight." "Interlude" is a boring, idea-lacking song that wouldn't even be called a song by most. Another negative is Legend's reliance on the breakdown. Breakdowns can be a great thing and can be a terrible thing. The thing with Legend is that their breakdowns are good for the most part. Most of the time, they are not excessively slow, or excessively long. The transitions however, whether it be from bridge to breakdown, chorus to breakdown, etc. are almost laughable in some parts. Songs do not flow, and you will be left with the thought that they rushed this after listening to the CD. I believe that next time around, Legend should follow in label mates American Me in song length. American Me's songs rarely go over 3 minutes, which works to their advantage. Heavy songs hit harder when there are fewer part repeats, less-filler, and what-nots. Some of the poorer songs include "Priorities," (the worst actual song on the CD) "The Healing" and "10.18.08." All 3 are full of excessive two-steps, breakdowns, and are weak on the vocal side of things. A big issue for me (it might not be an issue to some) is the absolutely horrid cutting and placing of Chad's vocal takes. Choose any song to listen to and just listen to a few lines. Chad rarely goes past 2 or 3 words in one take before noticeably starting a new take. I don't know why this is, maybe Chad ran a marathon before recording vocals, maybe Zuess preferred this, who knows. It's damn annoying.
Positives: it's extremely heavy. If angst is your thing, this is for you. If the inability to talk things out rings any bells to you, this album is for you. If you are just looking for another heavy band with an above average vocalist, this is for you. Don't fool yourself: this is not groundbreaking music. This album should NEVER receive a 4 or higher. An interesting positive for me was the occasional electronic editing of guitar tracks in songs: see "Harlot," "In Sight," and "The Pain of Parting." This CD is not overproduced. For the most part, it's a heavy, raw sounding record with some occasional twists and turns production-wise. It's a welcome addition to the sometimes boring nature of the CD. Another surprising positive are the lyrics. It's a pretty personal album that deals a lot with the divorce of Chad's parents. With the exception of "Harlot," the lyrics are generally not too immature, swear-laden, or poor.
I could just say what everyone else says on this site: it has too many breakdowns. It's not doing anything new. I would however recommend this CD to anyone looking for an outlet to release aggression on the extreme end of the scale, or to anyone wanting to know what Chad's been up to on the more realistic end of things. The CD feels rushed, bottom line. But, it's one heavy CD.
The Pain Of Parting
Sorry but the reviews and comments sound like they came mostly from people not into hardcore. First off, this album really doesn't have much of a metalcore sound as it does a hardcore sound aside from effects at the beginning of songs like Fabricator & Pain of Parting. Second, there aren't too many breakdowns..... for fuck's sake, the breakdowns on the album were very original. If you're not into hardcore, you probably shouldn't rate/comment/review music you're not into and at least try to respect other's music. Legend did a great job on their first album and definitely proving it live (I've seen them twice, once @ Chain Reaction and once @ Glasshouse, Pomona). The amount of negativity in this review for a hardcore bands album is sickening, please go review some mainstream. Though if it makes you feel any better, I did agree with a few things out of the largely terrible review of the album. Sorry, but there's just way too many accusations that don't seem to have much more point than taking up space for the review overall. And a band's album shouldn't be judged saying that it's not a breakthrough or anything through just the sound. The lyrics differ greatly from much else heard before. Overall, it may not be the best album out there but sure as fuck was a great one.