Legion – Woke (2013)


Waiting is something we all struggle to deal with; whether it be five minutes, five months or five years, we find a way to complain about how long we’ve been waiting for something. What happens when what you’ve been waiting for turns out to be a disappointment, though? Utter heartbreak. Today’s review comes from a band whose material I waited years to receive, but what I got ended up being much less than what I expected.

Legion, a five piece deathcore band from Columbus, OH., was formed back in 2009 and released one EP entitled Bottom Feeder in 2010. Bottom Feeder was roughly recorded, but the potential could be heard through the poor quality. That’s why I was anticipating the band’s upcoming release, Woke, which hits stores on July 30. After hearing of the band’s signing with eOne Music/Goodfight, I was sure that the quality would be top notch and the material would be devastating. Instead, what Legion brought us was some mediocre deathcore on top of some solid vocals and mediocre riffs.

Woke, a 33-minute release, starts off with a boring intro that features absolutely no memorable riffs, vocals or attempts to set a tone for the album. It’s kind of like they just needed an intro, so they made one up quickly and threw it in there. Following the intro is the second track, “And Then, the Devil Said,”  which is probably my favorite track on the entire album mainly because the breakdown in it is pretty righteous and heavy, and that’s about the highlight of what you’re going to receive from Woke. I’ve never been an overly critical reviewer, but there’s something about this release that just bored and angered me: I was bored because of the sheer lack of anything new or standout worthy, and I was angry because of the fact that fans waited over three years for this album to be released and it’s just a huge letdown.

Not to say that Legion doesn’t have the potential to bounce back with another release. Legion has just hurt the original praise I used to have for it with the release of Woke. One thing about this album that drove me absolutely nuts is the fact that almost half of the tracks on this album have so much killed time at the end of each track. What I mean is that the track will end and the vocals cease, yet a riff or two continues to be played out for the next 30 or 40 seconds on some tracks. Why would a band do that? In all there’s probably around six or seven minutes that can be shaved off this release because it’s just boring outros to each god forsaken track. The time that Legion wasted doing this could have at least been used to create an atmosphere for the album, or to add some audio clips or talked vocals. Legion could have done anything with that time including adding one, two or maybe even three other tracks, but instead the band did absolutely nothing with it and that’s what annoys me the most.

Legion had so many opportunities to make this release fantastic in my books, but fell short of doing that. Not to be all negative, though, while the album may not be anything spectacular instrumentally, it’s pretty strong in the vocal department, and when it comes to the breakdowns and lead-ins, it gains a lot more strength in that department. The vocals on this album are really sweet. It’s like a mix of Adam Warren (Oceano) and Jamie Hanks (I Declare War), which is a really nice touch if you’re a fan of heavier deathcore. Some standout tracks  are “And Then, the Devil Said,” “Perverse Icon” and “He Became Death.” Although the album doesn’t have a huge replay value, it is somewhat enjoyable while you are listening to it for however long you choose to. It’s nothing spectacular and it’s definitely something Legion can top if the members put their minds to it, don’t waste precious time and try to carve their own niche.