When it comes to rock and heavy metal there is absolutely no shortage of great material to hear. Whether you’re after classic tones or the latest bands that are really cutting edge and standing out from the over-saturated stockpile of modern bands in the genre. However, what is difficult is to find music in these umbrellas that is genuinely fun to listen to, or at least not in a way that allows critics to step out of their reviewing shoes and just enjoy the music. Some bands such as Every Time I Die stand out as bands that accomplish this, and another name that will come to mind is North Carolina four-piece, He Is Legend, a band that stormed onto the early 2000’s scene with their fantastic debut album I Am Hollywood. It was a record that described the darker side of living life in the eponymous district in Los Angeles, whilst also being jam-packed with a barrage of riffs that made the album an extremely fun listen.
Since then, He Is Legend wrote and released four more full-lengths which continued with their unique blend of metalcore, alternative, and southern rock in a way that really set them apart from their contemporaries as a band that could write really fun music. Really, one of the only bands they could be compared to would be the aforementioned Every Time I Die, although it could be argued that He Is Legend are more accessible due to a larger portion of their vocals being sung cleanly.
This brings us to White Bat, the band’s sixth record, which seems to continue where they left off with their 2017 album Few. Right from the eponymous opening track, you're treated to a banquet of southern rock tinged metalcore that just keeps on giving from start to finish. There are a few quieter breaks throughout the 11 tracks that make up White Bat, such as on 'Resister', 'Resist Her', or the opening section of 'Talking Stalker', but all in all this is an album which is meant to be moshed to.
On top of that, He Is Legend never resort to gimmicks or juvenile lyrics in order to make their music an enjoyable experience. Underneath all of the head-bopping guitar licks there is some excellent songwriting and musicianship on display. The most focal part of this musicianship is undoubtedly lead singer Schuylar Croom, whose chimes sound grittier than on the past few He Is Legend records. Additionally, long-time fans were over the moon after the release of the title track as the debut single, as this song marked the return of Schuylar’s screams. This is something that he hasn’t done since He Is Legend’s early days, and thankfully it appears on a number of tracks here. This, along with the faster paced drumming makes White Bat the most aggressive album that He Is Legend have put out since their much adored debut.
He Is Legend’s discography is a catalogue of consistently high quality albums, but White Bat still manages to standout in their expanding repertoire. Only time will tell whether it has the longevity of I Am Hollywood, but suffice to say it is an excellent record that shows a band that is still firing all cylinders at a point where many bands would be releasing disappointing records. The aggression on here never outstays its welcome and the quiet moments are never long-winded. The faults to find on White Bat are few and far between, and most of the time when you’re listening to it, you’ll probably be enjoying yourself too much to even notice.