Review: Legend – “The Pale Horse” (Rise Records)

Detroit, Michigan death-core merchants LEGEND are back with new album and I must say it’s as good as expected. With this release they look to separate themselves from the already deep roster of Rise Records. These road dogs are relentless in their music and attitude and their legion of fans eat it up like breakfast. They have turned in a surprisingly mature record that sees them staying true to their roots, but at the same time mine their style a little deeper this time out.

Diagnosis, Doom” opens the album like the soundtrack from a modern horror movie, all creepy and eerie. When the first riff kicks in it burns with the typical intensity and head nodding good stuff you expect. “Circle of Friends” is the proper first song and it rips with uptempo fervor that makes me wanna punch some one’s lights out. I see a lot of tough-guy deathcore bands who lack the musical backbone and chops to go with it and they should pay close attention to LEGEND. Taking a page out of THE ACACIA STRAIN’s book, the song goes through several shifts in mood and raises up the dynamic level dramatically. The next track “Shut Down” is equally aggressive with a tremendous main riff and stop/start rhythms sure to snap necks. Guitarist Aaron Bagby isn’t a one string, one note riffer like most deathcore axemen. He is a skilled player who adds all manner of intricate ear candy for the listener to grab on to. Dylan Shippey is powerhouse drummer and he is the glue that holds these songs and this band together. Bringing in an even more explosive tempo and another level of down-tuned guitars, “Parasite” just crushes big time. As on all the tracks here vocalist Chad Ruhlig shifts between a guttural growl and a hardcore yell. He does interesting pitch changes with his mouthpiece from song to song, giving each cut its own distinct flavor. One of his major strengths is you can always understand his lyrics no matter how hard he screams. “Parasite” also has the best breakdown on the album and even though the band doesn’t do it too often, the bass drop comes in at just the right time. All of the tracks have a degree of programming and sound effects running through them like a thread adding color, but not so much as to take away from the songs. That is the mistake many bands are making these days. You’d like to hear them change up the song styles a little more, but it’s hard to fault an album that sets a goal to kick teeth in and then does it with assassin like precision. Other notable tracks on the album are “Obey”, the single “Proven” and “Shadow Stalker”.

It takes a lot of balls to call your band Legend. I’m not sure they are there quite yet, but they are building an impressive resume with The Pale Horse.

RATING: 8.5 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
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