Review Summary: He Is Legend come back with a darkness they need to let out, but do so while jumping around wildly...
To be honest, after hearing the first couple of released songs from He Is Legend’s comeback album, I was worried. I thought the band had lost their ability to rock, instead devolving into a reverb-drenched, slow-paced, plodding riff fest (but in Drop C so it’s still heavy) that will rely on some kind of quazi-intellectual understanding and patience to fully “grasp” their new direction. Despite my reservations, this is still He Is Legend we are talking about, purveyors of some of my favorite jams for as long as I’ve been a fan. I had to give Heavy Fruit
a chance even if only for loyalty’s sake. The album’s opener “No Visitors” picks up sonically right where It Hates You
left off, with a riff tinged with a smidge of fuzz and vocalist Schuylar Croom’s revitalized pipes, but it was slow and I rolled my eyes and sighed, for yet again another 2014 release has disappointed me. 75 seconds in the song though the drums pick up, the guitar gets a shot of adrenaline and what followed was simply a fantastic song, very much He Is Legend but with a noticeable air of moodiness not yet displayed fully by the band before. This was just one song however, I had a whole album to disappoint me, but by the end of the album’s second song “This Will Never Work” I couldn’t even say “wow…” for my foot was planted firmly in my mouth.
Even after a 5 year break between albums and a hiatus, He Is Legend have not lost their spark. What did happen in that time was the band became better musicians and it shows in Heavy Fruit’s
dark, borderline eerie vibe. Croom’s vocals provide a huge slice of the mood here and it seems the break has done the man good. The band’s previous album It Hates You
saw Croom using more of his natural singing talent and cutting down the screaming dramatically. Heavy Fruit
eschews harsh vocals all together but they’ve never sounded better. The outro to “Beethozart” displays Croom trying new things with his voice and ends up being a highlight of the entire album. Even with this performance from Croom, I’ve always listened to He Is Legend because the music has a great combination of crunchy, weighty riffs and catchy, well written passages and Heavy Fruit
is in no short supply of my fix. You can practically taste the southern fried flavor of “Be Easy”, a banger that grooves more smoothly and effortlessly than anything the band has ever done in the past and really harkens back to the overtly southern nature of “Electronic Throat” from the band’s second album. “The Carpet” draws from the band’s early days with Croom’s spitfire lyrics swooning over the continually expert drumming from newcomer Sam Hull and a tasteful breakdown to round it all out.
As mentioned before Heavy Fruit
is heavy on vibe and mood and while there’s no China White IV, “Time To Stain” serves as a nice spiritual successor of sorts. The band’s aforementioned increase in songwriting prowess and the vaguely dark lyrics really grasps the attention. Another reason the moody nature works so well is the production techniques the band employs. A great example comes in the sinister “I Sleep Just Fine” which conjures some pretty bleak inferences:
How can you do those things you do"
And you can still sleep at night
I'd never do those things to you
no where near it
Ending in a cacophony of distortion and bass that sounds like rolling thunder, a powerful yet pretty ingenious ending to the song that is only one example of some neat ways Heavy Fruit
never completely sheds its mysterious sentiment.
I guess my point is I was completely and totally wrong about the inherent skill and energy skill contained in the entity that is He Is Legend. Heavy Fruit
sounds just as poignant on a lonely rainy night as it does blasting out of your car on the back roads, something they’ve never came close to capturing before. Those who want the band to go back to their I Am Hollywood
sound will again be left wanting but those fans who’ve embraced the group’s direction will find an addictive mixture of groove, melody, and mood contained here. Welcome back He Is Legend, don’t leave us again.