HE IS LEGEND are:
Schuylar Croom | Adam Tanbouz | Matty Williams | Jesse Shelley
It must feel good to say out loud... “We’re a rock band at the heart of it all,” exclaims He Is Legend frontman Schuylar Croom. “We live for the hour on stage every night. Right now, we have this newfound positivity when it comes to ourmusic and group. We’re really inspired. We pulled a gem out of two years on the road, ups, downs, and crazy things going on.
”That gem arrives in the form of the group’s sixth full-length and second for Spinefarm Records, White Bat. The quartet—Schuylar, Adam Tanbouz [lead guitar], Matty Williams [bass], and Jesse Shelley [drums]—positioned themselves to make such a statement since forming in 2003. Bolstered by a cult fan base, their discography encompasses I Am Hollywood, Suck Out the Poison, and the seminal It Hates You. 2014’s Heavy Fruitnotably garnered praise from the likes of Alternative Press, Revolver, New Noise, and Ultimate Guitar, among others. MetalInjectionbestowed a glowing9-out-of-10-ratinguponthe crowdfundedFew in 2017, describingit best, “Let’s cut right to the chase: He Is Legend is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated bands in all of metal.”Along the way, the boys would share the stage with everyone from Killswitch Engage andSevendustto GwarandUnderoath.
This longevity and brotherhood set the stage for the next chapter.
“Matt, Adam, and I have been in a band for upwards of 17 years,” the vocalist continues. “Jesse and I have become the fastest of friends in the past three years. Everybody brings what they bring to the table. Nobody worries about what one ingredient is going to do to the dish. They all work together. This is super He Is Legend. It sounds like a mixture of all of our albums together. It has a moodiness and heaviness we haven’t ventured into in a while. It’s conceptual. More than the content and concept, the music is representative ofwhat we are now.
”This time around, the musicians diligently worked across the country. Jesse recorded drums in Atlanta at Glow in the Dark Studios with Matt Goldman. Guitars and bass would be trackedat Warriorsound with Al Jacobs. Meanwhile, Schuylar ventured out West to reteam with Mitch Marlow for vocals in Los Angeles.
Inspired by Michelle McNamara’s true crime classic I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, he wandered around the shadiest and most shadowy corners of the city of angels. Getting into a menacing mindset for the concept, he visited the grave of Walt Disney, canvased mausoleums, went to the Museum of Death, and “sat in crazy seedy little bars, wrote, and got into this headspace—like preparing for an acting role.”
He inhabited the leadrole with the intensity and preparation of a method actor, baring his fangs on the first single and title track “White Bat.” A barrage of thrashed-up guitars and psychological vocalbludgeoning, it takes flight on a visceral, violent, and vibrant chant. Within two months’ time, it closed in on 1 million Spotify streams and introduced the record with teeth.
“White Bat is a moniker for this fictional killer,” he admits. “It’s his calling card. The name has a ring of finality to it, which I dug. It came out of nowhere. It sums up this era of He Is Legend, which is in-your-face—dare I say Far Beyond Driven-style—but still rock ‘n’ roll. The character is battling his own demons and trying to figure out if his life is being led through fantasy,or if he’s actually doing these things. On the other side of the coin, a White Bat is a rare breed. That’s as much as I’ll say about the concept,” he cuts himself off as if keeping a secret...
Whether it be the ominous clean guitar and swamp conjuration of “Uncanny Valley” or the rip-roaring rage of “Eye Teeth,” White Batspreads its wings with a raw sense of recklessness.Powered by a raucous riff, “Burn All Your Rock Records” explodes as a clarion call, while everything culminates on the sludge ‘n’ roll goth daydream of “Boogiewoman.”
“At one point when I was in the desert, I had written a poem,” he recalls. “The first lines about everything being brown and remaining trapped in an area stuck with me for a long while. Right before going to L.A., I went through my notebooks and jotted down some one-liners on a yellow legal pad I wanted to use. I knew this had to be the closer. Lyrically, I like the wordplay of these different syndromes such asStockholm Syndrome. Theyconjure imagery of someone standing by through the most heinous of things.
”In the end, the quartet are much more than rock band.
They’re He Is Legend.
“We’ve never felt more typecast as ourselves,” Schuylar leaves off. “This is probably the best depiction of what our music sounds like. We wrote a record for big stages. We found this life and essence like, ‘Here we are. This is the band in its purest form.’ We’re fucking back. We’re here. It’s time to rock.”–Rick Florino, February 2019
HE IS LEGEND are: