Album Review: The League of One – Dispatch
Drawing from ‘70s sludge metal (Black Sabbath) ‘80’s hair bands (pick any one; they’re pretty well interchangeable) and modern-day speed metal, The League of one makes the kind of hard rock that – whether you like it or not – has largely gone out of fashion these days.
And that shift in popular taste is unfortunate. The songs on Dispatch are sold riff rockers. Singer and guitarist Will Maeder has a vocal style that reminds one a bit of Blue Öyster Cult’s Erc Bloom. The band’s taut riffage sticks close to standard-issue melodic metal, but ever so often the songs (like the opening track “Wax Museum” flash a break reminiscent of the twisting, virtuosic prog-metal of Deadwing-era Porcupine Tree.
And that prog-metal sensibility surfaces often on Dispatch. “Plastic Crackhead” alternates between stoner vibe and menacing, punishing (in a good way!) riffing. The group avoids the arena-rock production aesthetic, instead delivering its songs in a close-up, intimate fashion that doesn’t cloak the vocals and instrumentation in blemish-hiding effects. And there’s nothing to hide; these guys can play stoner rock one minute, and then fire on all cylinders with blazing solos the next. Drummer Billy Grant and bassist “The Rev” shift gears effortlessly between styles, and The League of One has enough nuance – a rare quality in this particular musical territory – to expertly explore more than one musical idea within the confines of its relatively compact songs.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.