posted on 3/2007 By:
Some folks may show interest in this record based purely on the fact that it’s the latest project from one-time Cave In laborer, Adam McGrath. Such was not the case for me, however. I chose to review Legendary Demo because the cover looked neat and I’m interested in Hydra Head Records. In fact, not only have I never heard Cave In, I’ve never actually heard a single metalcore album in its entirety. Possibly a bit strange, but true nonetheless. So, after discovering McGrath’s background, I was admittedly a bit nervous that my (mildly) impressive streak would finally come to an end. Ahhhh, but if you were to cup your ear to the wind, friends, you might actually be able to pick up the faint celebratory shouts from all four of my remaining brain cells, for Clouds has about as much to do with metalcore as it does klezmer.
Less than half of the Legendary Demo playing time is testicle-kicking rock and roll. That may not sound like much of an accomplishment on the surface, but it’s actually fairly forgivable once you realize the last song is an unbelievably skippable 20-minute jaunt into mind-numbingly insipid dub (seriously, I don’t think I’ve heard a more unfortunate end to a record since the Supersuckers, “Razzmanazz”, but at least that was funny). Apart from this arrant flub, and the slightly prolonged funkishness of the last 4-minutes of the song preceding it, this record actually rips and tears with some pretty goll-darned fierce rock & roll.
“New Amnesia” and “Pressure” kick things off with an obvious nod towards classic rip-roarin’ hard rock akin to The Stooges, MC5, Blue Cheer, and any number of other old bands you’d likely see printed on vintage shirts stretched over the scrawniness of your local hipster douchebag troupe. Both tunes are loud, gruff, and feature sharp, catchy guitar licks swaddled in a whole mess of hollerin’, and definitely sound as if they’d whip serious ass when blasted forth from a live setting. “Live It for Now”, “Party Grunge”, and “Guardian’s Eyes” abandon a bit of the rockin’ element in favor of a more classic grunge sound, but not of the hackneyed Candlebox variety; more along the punkish lines of Louder Than Love, Bleach, and Mudhoney, mixed with a nice scoop of Hellacopters or even early QOTSA for good measure. The shining point of the record hits with “Mountain Jim”, a cut that starts off slow, smoky and southern, with an almost Robin Trower flavor before heading off to a fat, greasy romp that’s smothered with McGrath’s strangely Ian Astbury-like crooning in the backdrop. But as I mentioned earlier, things plummet after the first minute and a half of the seventh song, “Magic Hater”, and really, really ‘cave in’ (yes! high-five!) with the terribly extensive, saxophone-soaked “Quartulli Dub”.
Is this record worth floating $10 towards Hydra Head’s direction? Well, let me put it to you this way: Legendary Demo concisely delivers 16-minutes of the kind of solid, brash rock ‘n grunge fury that could easily whip any party into the kind of blowout that features wasted folks flailing about with empty twelve packs on their heads, but you damn-well better be sober enough to make a quick switch by the time the last tune wafts across the speakers.
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