Album Review: Young Legionnaire – Zero Worship

Review from Ben Forrester

Review from Ben Forrester 

I genuinely don’t understand why Young Legionnaire aren’t fucking huge! Their debut, 2011’s ‘Crisis Works‘, was an absolute masterclass in making gigantic, melodic rock music that punches you in the face but puts an ice pack on you afterwards. ‘Wreckonomics‘, the EP that followed, was even more perfect; the heavier songs were even more earth crushing and the poppier tracks had hooks for days!

So, here we are in 2016 and the three-piece have returned with album number two, a record that many have been chomping at the bit to hear.

Year Zero‘ is an enticing opener and really sets up the rest of the album. It’s all about the fuzzy, brooding bass line which is backed up by a regimented drum pattern. Guitar effects flicker around as vocals bewilder, gradually rising into a dramatic chorus. This album is all about creating an atmosphere, from the string laden theatrics of ‘Hail, Hail‘ to heart on sleeve balladry of ‘Simone‘; Young Legionnaire really home in on dynamics here to bring some of their most widescreen material to date.

With Crisis Works, there was a definite focus on making big rock songs, but ‘Zero Worship‘ has many different tones and ideas which make it such an engrossing piece. It never feels too eclectic though; the band controlling these ideas well enough for it to be a varied record but in a compelling way. It shifts from hard hitting riff monsters like ‘Candidate‘ and ‘Sawn-Off Shotgun‘ to angular pop bangers like ‘Balaclava‘ or ‘Disappear‘, fully loaded with vocal hooks ready to be soaked into your soul.

Ultimately, this is a really well written record, Young Legionnaire are comprised of three excellent musicians and songwriters and together they rock a very tight set. Bassist Gordy and drummer Dean are the perfect rhythm section; the grooves are strong and never boring, always kept interesting. Then you have guitarist and vocalist Paul, who probably has one of the best voices going. Both his vocal and guitar performances here are consistently brilliant. His guitar tones are sharp and on the right side of angular, while his vocals are just pure power.

Zero Worship is the sound of Young Legionnaire letting go of their inhibitions for all the world to see. This is an album that wears its heart on its sleeve; it can be ugly but it also can be beautiful and truly deserves all the hype. This is a band not to just believe in, but to worship.

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