REVIEW: Legion - Woke

Genre: Deathcore
Label: eOne/Good Fight
Date of Release: July 30, 2013


Legion is a good example of an underground deathcore group that has come quite far. This band was founded in 2009 from Columbus, Ohio, and has since then released two EPs: "This is the End" the same year they formed, and "Bottom Feeder" in 2010. Their following has grown over these years, and at one point, even got signed to eOne Music and Good Fight Entertainment (Hatebreed, The Contortionist, The Human Abstract). What follows would be the quintet's first full-length record entitled "Woke."

The musicianship is rather decent, but it sadly isn't all that great. The vocals, to start off, are on the fence. They mostly consist of low growls, and, while they are performed fine, they do get quite monotonous because of how lacking the vocals are in variety. The guitars are also sort of average, as they mostly rely on very low chugs and slides. They do have some stand-out moments, particularly in the track "He Became Death," but there isn't that much to them. However, the one element of the instrumentation that truly holds up is the drum work. Though not phenomenal, they are very solid and develop a nice framework for the music to build off of. Overall, the musicianship adds up to not be that good, but not that bad either; it's rather on the fence.

The production and mixing behind "Woke," like the instrumentation, is sort of in the middle as well. It was performed by former The Acacia Strain guitarist Daniel "DL" Laskiewicz. The influence definitely shows, with how deep and murky the sound is to emphasizes the music's brutal nature. This both helps and hinders the sound on different occasions. On one hand, this muddy overtone does accomplish its apparent goal in making the music even more dark and destructive than it already is, especially in the slower-paced areas. On the other hand, however, it does cause the deathcore to sound like mush at times, sucking the power, color, and ferocity out of the music. It's all half-and-half, so the sound production is another one of those middle points for this album.

For those who have been familiar with Legion during their first steps, the sound that "Woke" brings should be anything but surprising. The tracklist consists of one-hundred-percent brutal deathcore. This, unfortunately, is the album's greatest weakness. There is an incredible lack of dynamic in the tracklist, and the formula of continually delivering sledgehammering deathcore all the way through the record does get quite stale after a while. However, with that, said, there is enough redeeming quality to give the album some likability. For one thing, there are plenty of memorable moments to go around, especially in tracks like "Perverse Icon" and "He Became Death," where the breakdowns do manage to lend themselves to repeated listens. On top of that, the songs, while as a whole are monotonous, they're at least structured quite well individually. Just like the musicianship and sound engineering, the music itself evens out to be a tad decent.

While "Woke" isn't necessarily bad, it is sort of a disappointment for the band's discography, considering how good the other albums were. It does have some good things to offer, but at the same time, it is somewhat difficult to call it a good album. Everything from the musicianship to the sound production to the music itself each turn out as average aspects, and it all adds up for "Woke" to be an average release. Deathcore fans might find something to enjoy here, but there are plenty of much better records of that genre out there. Once again, it's by no means a failure, but rather a specimen of wasted potential.

Score: 5/10 (Average)