Personnel: Schuylar Croom, Schuylar Croom (vocals); Adam Tanbouz (guitar); Adam Tanbouz (guitars); Matt Williams (bass instrument); Steven Bache, Steve Bache (drums).
Recording information: Warrior Sound Studio, Chapel Hill, NC (2008).
After two albums on Solid State, the maybe-Christian sometime-screamo band He Is Legend have re-emerged with IT HATES YOU, an album that's simultaneously more straightforwardly rocking than their previous material and more adventurous. Their songwriting has improved quite a bit; vocalist Schuylar Croom enunciates every word clearly, sounding like a cross between Layne Staley and Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows. Guitarist Adam Tanbouz and bassist Matt Williams keep the riffs churning in a manner that owes much more to mainstream hard rock than any of their previous albums, while drummer Steven Bache's rhythms are forceful and emphatic. Beyond his ability to crank out a powerhouse riff, though, Tanbouz's deployment of unexpected tones and moods to introduce various songs ("The Primarily Blues," "China White III," and "That's Nasty" are particularly potent examples) is what makes him the band's ace in the hole. The band sculpts one of the heaviest riffs of the year for the first minute or so of "Mean Shadows," before the cleaner ballad section starts. IT HATES YOU is a record with something to offer fans of swampy Southern rock, dirty metal, radio-friendly alternative anthems, and screamo.