Legend gained a huge following with their 4-song demo before their debut Valediction. But, after the release of Valediction, people started to notice that the debut lacked some of the rawness and brutality present on the demo and they got a lot of comparisons to vocalist Chad Ruhlig’s ex-band and current label mates For The Fallen Dreams (which, ironically, was the last review I did). The Pale Horse finally brings them back up to par and breaks them from the shadow of FFTD. However, they don’t honestly offer anything new and extravagant to the table, other than being a hardcore/metal crossover band, which was cutting edge like 2 years ago.
I do like this album however. The breakdowns are as crunchy as a Butterfinger, and it has brutal vocals and pummeling guitar and bass that create some badass hardcore. But as I mentioned before, it’s pretty basic. I love hardcore so this album appeals to me, but it will not appeal to anyone outside the hardcore listening circle.
“Diagnosis: Doom” is a nice buildup to the brutality that is to come. My only wish is that it was a bit longer. It blends in seamlessly with the next song “Circle Of Friends,” providing a good metalcore song that is similar to [Insert metalcore band name here]. They kind of give off an Acacia Strain vibe about a minute into the song with the haunting sound effects, pummeling guitar and brutal vocals to scare little children senseless. “Shut Down” continues this structure that can confuse the listener, who may be playing the whole album nonstop (like I did) and thinking that it’s all one song.
This is where the similarities between songs stops. “Parasite” had me look up from what I was doing to make sure it wasn’t just a heavy version of “Psychosocial” by Slipknot. Luckily it wasn’t a total cover, just for a few seconds with the structure. It then goes off into a build up for a breakdown that is one of the best on the record. “Obey” is a song that will be loved by old and new school Emmure fans. Not much to say on this track, you will just have to buy it and listen for yourself. “Shapeshifter” is a beautiful 53-second intro to “Numbers,” which has some good throw-down moments throughout the song and gives some good stop and go guitar work. The most striking quality this record has is how well one track blends into the next, while still sounding fresh, as is the case yet again to the next track “Proven.”
My personal favorite track is “Shadow Stalker,” delivering a swift and crushing aural blow to the ears with the double bass keeping the train moving onward. To wrap up the album, “Faithful” offers some lasting brutality to leave listeners on a good note and with some gang vocals as well, which I would have liked to see more of.
Overall, the album was lacking in diversity, but I give it a high review because I do love hardcore music, and that is where they deliver well. They don’t provide the means to pull in new fans of the genre, but provide music for the people already into hardcore. If you’re a core music fan, you will like this album. If you’re not, then you won’t.