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Album Review
 
He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood Album Cover

He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

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8.5
He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood
Record Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: November 2, 2004
Before He Is Legend was setting the precedent for southern-flavored metalcore everywhere with their sophomore album Suck Out the Poison they released I Am Hollywood, an album that set the precedent for another genre completely. In the simplest terms possible, I Am Hollywood is a "pop-core" albums. That is, they combine unbelievable pop hooks with quite a bit of mixed aggression and scattered breakdowns. Beyond the surface, however, I Am Hollywood is much, much more than this trite label would have you believe.

Those only accustomed with Suck Out the Poison would be completely taken aback by this album. First of all, not only does the band not have the southern groove they smoothed out for themselves on their second album, vocalist Schuyler Croom sounds nothing like he does on their sophomore attempt. Sure, you can tell it's him, but it's his delivery that differs so much from one album to the next. On I Am Hollywood he takes a more "poppy" approach in most places; the vocals are much more upbeat, and he tends to forgo the "haunting" aspects of his singing that can be heard in Suck Out the Poison. A perfect example of the differences in the vocals can be seen in "Best in Mexico" where the hooks are placed exceedingly well, only to be aided by Croom's theatric vocals. However, the theatrical premise of this song completely pales in comparison to the album closer "I Am Hollywood" which is easily my favorite song that He Is Legend has ever written. The vocal antics in this song are unbelievable well executed, and they pull you along through every facet they can muster, from Croom's frantic yells to his raspy screaming and even brutal growling where he exclaims "I am Hollywood! You better remember!"

The musicianship on the album is top notch as well as the next, and the drummer, as well as guitarists hold their own whether they're accompanying Croom's mad wailing or playing backdrop to his excellent singing. These elements of the music are placed together extremely well, and any of their screaming (and or, breakdowns) don't seemed forced, unlike some bands that have tried it since. "The Seduction," for an example, excellently switches up between the frantic screaming and catchy melodic vocals without ever losing a beat. Calling this "pop-core," is, in many ways, very misleading. Upon inspection of this album, you're not going to find sugar-filled choruses and "uber-br00t4l" breakdowns. However, they do very well at blending the catchy, melodic pop-oriented verses with that of heavier genres. A better term, in many ways, would be post-hardcore, but even that doesn't really encompass how the album sounds.

One thing that has always interested me about He Is Legend is their not-so-normal lyrics, and this album was the one that got me started on them. Many of them delve into mysteries of different calibers. For example, those that loved the second installment of the "China White series" on Suck Out the Poison can catch its prequel in "China White," where the murderous gardener is first introduced. Another of my favorites comes from the aforementioned track "Best in Mexico" where Croom declares: "There is something wrong with me, that's why I wrote this note. I've joined the writers who believe they have the antidote, so I will go quickly now and leave breadcrumbs on the street, I'll feel much better after I have my maternal leave." Another, displaying their manner of being all over the place at one time is displayed in "The Seduction" and reads as: "I've got to find the princess, she's in another castle, And I'm dancing with the Capulet. We're so crazy in love!" When they want to, however, they can be a bit more contemplative, and Croom's whispered lines in "Dinner With a Gypsy attest to that: "Is there a place that we can go to teach the children not to grow? Where lovers don't remember where they met, and heartbreak is easy to forget?" The lyrics of this album match the music; they're both theatrical and fervent, encompassing the frenetic and urgent nature of the music into words.

Many people who are only familiar with the present idea of He Is Legend would be pleasantly surprised by I Am Hollywood. It's much different from Suck Out the Poison, and this is a band that I'd have respect for even if I didn't like the music just for keeping their sound fresh and alive. If you've yet to ever check out this album, it's a definite to-do, and if their new demos are anything to judge from, He Is Legend is going to continue to build and mature on the solid foundation they built with their debut album.

Recommended If You LikeA Day to Remember with actual music chops and depth; Chasing Victory's Fiends; Emery (roughly)

myspace.com/heislegend
This review is a user submitted review from Klatzke. You can see all of Klatzke's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 25
08:38 PM on 03/11/09
#2
EndSerenading
we were born for battle
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hometown boys. They co-headlined our first CD release (2004) show with us when they had just changed their name from Uriah Omen to He Is Legend haha. really fun album. i liked the EP before this too..havent really gotten into the stuff past this one :/
08:44 PM on 03/11/09
#3
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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hometown boys. They co-headlined our first CD release (2004) show with us when they had just changed their name from Uriah Omen to He Is Legend haha. really fun album. i liked the EP before this too..havent really gotten into the stuff past this one :/
You mean the demos/suck out the poison?
08:49 PM on 03/11/09
#4
EndSerenading
we were born for battle
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yea i didnt enjoy suck out the poison. the new demos have been more promising though.
09:10 PM on 03/11/09
#5
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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yea i didnt enjoy suck out the poison. the new demos have been more promising though.
I really like the direction they're headed. I actually enjoyed Suck Out the Poison. I'll probably review that soon speaking of.. haha.
09:23 PM on 03/11/09
#6
EndSerenading
we were born for battle
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haha, word. Different strokes! It had some stuff on it that I liked, but in general it was a little bit of a let down for me. I guess maybe I was just expecting something different based on their past.
09:28 PM on 03/11/09
#7
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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haha, word. Different strokes! It had some stuff on it that I liked, but in general it was a little bit of a let down for me. I guess maybe I was just expecting something different based on their past.
I really seemed to dig China White II.. That was easily my favorite track. It was just like unbelievably heavy and just straight up f'in creepy.
10:38 AM on 03/12/09
#8
live.
Feenay! Fee hee hee hee heenay!
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Great album. Nice review sir.
11:06 AM on 03/12/09
#9
Smeee
AP.net's Resident Staryu
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Such an under-rated album. Great band. Suck Out The Poison took nearly a year for me to get into, which I eventually did haha. It's still not as good as this bad boy though. Good review!
11:46 AM on 03/12/09
Hainzey X
destiny found.
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stellar review apart from the ADTR r.i.y.l.

keep up the good work. lets see a SOTP review.
11:47 AM on 03/12/09
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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stellar review apart from the ADTR r.i.y.l.

keep up the good work. lets see a SOTP review.
I had nothing to compare it to really, ya know? That's why the little modifiers are in there. haha. Actually thought of some to throw in there, I'm gonna mess with it.

And, I'll be doing that sometime soon whenever I get a chance.
01:17 PM on 03/12/09
Daniel Thompson
Act 1, Scene 3
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i love this album so much.
01:18 PM on 03/12/09
awakeohsleeper
We never met, you and I
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Great review, great album. Terribly fun and enjoyable.
01:23 PM on 03/12/09
xsinkshipsx
@alexmacwilliam
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top 10 favorite album...it is so diverse and well executed....incredible.....anything after this album I am not a fan...
01:44 PM on 03/12/09
Klatzke
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I just submitted my SOTP review. 850+ words, so it's lengthier than this. Should score pretty high as well. Probably slightly higher than this one actually.

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