If you’re a baseball fan, you’re familiar with the term “stuff.” And if you’re not? Well, inarticulate baseball players, managers, and fans (like us) use that term to refer both to what pitchers are capable of throwing and how they actually perform in games. It can refer to the speed of the ball, the location of the pitch as it crosses the plate, the guile of the pitcher in varying the pitches from batter to batter — basically, everything that goes into keeping hitters off balance and generating outs.
When a pitcher is on his game, keeping batters off the bases and cruising through a low pitch count, the manager or some teammate will be quoted as saying, “he had good stuff tonight.” And when a pitcher gets shelled and removed without going at least five innings, you can bet someone will say, “he didn’t have good stuff.” Hey, they don’t pay those dudes for their public speaking skills.
So, you might ask, what the fuck does that have to do with metal? And we would answer: If you’re a metal band and you pick the name “Legend,” you better have the “stuff” to back it up. And in the case of this metalicized hardcore band from Michigan and their recently released debut album Valediction, they abso-fucking-lutely do.
We’ve written before about our disappointment in Bury Your Dead‘s change in musical direction since the departure of vocalist Mat Bruso and his replacement by Myke Terry. We were further chagrined to learn that BYD bassist Aaron “Bubble” Patrick left the band last fall. And we were equally disappointed by the defection of band members from another repeat-play favorite of ours, For the Fallen Dreams. (more after the jump, including a song and tour dates . . . )
But all these guys have found a new home in Legend. The band’s line-up includes two of the defectors from For the Fallen Dreams, frontman Chad Ruhlig and bass player Joe Ellis, as well as BYD’s Bubble Patrick on second guitar. They recorded that debut album with Zeuss (Hatebreed) at Planet Z in Hadley, MA, and it was released on May 25th by Rise Records.
In a nutshell, Valediction delivers hook-heavy hardcore with enough melodic riffing to plant the songs firmly in your memory.
Clanging guitars and bass punch hard, somewhere down in your lower GI tract. Pulsing rhythm guitars flash back and forth between your left and right ears in the mix, and surge with bursts of power and staccato hammering. Breakdowns drop like concrete blocks and trigger the headbang reflex down in the reptile stem of your brain. Sometimes, out of left field, even electro-industrial beats (as in “The Pain of Parting”) amplify the convulsive effect of the rhythms — and then streams of dissonant melody emerge to sweep you away on the cresting wave.
And throughout, Chad Ruhlig’s powerful, testosterone-injected vocals fire away like an artillery barrage.
Listening to Valediction, we can’t help but imagine what this music would produce in a sweat-drenched club, frothing with a swarm of humanity — a roiling moshpit of mind-elsewhere, pinball madness.
Everything we loved about “Changes”-era For the Fallen Dreams and Bury Your Dead before Mat Bruso’s departure has risen like a blazing phoenix and taken flight in the music of Legend. Even if you’re not by nature a slavish, two-stepping addict for metal-edged hardcore, you ought to give this album a shot, because Legend has definitely got the good stuff. Here’s a track from Valediction to whet your appetite:
And now, some news that’s truly music to our ears: Legend is touring this summer with For the Fallen Dreams and Seattle favorites I Declare War. For the first part of the tour, through July 21, they’ll be joined by This or the Apocalypse, and then The Contortionist (whose music is also killer) will step in from that point through the end of the tour. Here are the dates and places. You absolutely oughta check out this tour if you’re within reach of these venues:
July 12 Denver, CO (Marquis Theater)
July 14 Seattle, WA (Studio Seven)
July 15 Portland, OR (Club Satyricon)
July 17 Orangevale, CA (The Boardwalk)
July 18 Amaheim, CA (Chain Reaction)
July 19 San Diego, CA (The Epicentre)
July 20 Mesa, AZ (The Undergound)
July 21 Albuquerque, NM (The Compound)
July 22 El Paso, TX (Club 101)
July 23 San Antonio, TX (White Rabbit)
July 24 Waco, TX (Art Ambush)
July 25 Metairie, LA (The Highground)
July 27 Tampa, FL (Transitions Skate Park)
July 28 West Palm Beach (Ground Control)
July 29 Orlando, FL (H2O Live)
July 30 Jacksonville, FL (The Pit)
July 31 Douglasville, GA (The 7 Venue)
Aug 1 Raleigh, NC (The Brewery)
Aug 2 Virginia Beach, VA (Skate High)
Aug 3 Vineland, NJ (Hangar 84)
Aug 4 Amityville, NY (Broadway)
Aug 6 Manchester, NH (Stadium Ten Pin)
Aug 7 Worcester, MA (The Palladium)
Aug 8 Jermyn, PA (Eleanor Rigby’s)