The Letter Black - Rebuild: Album Review

The Letter Black have proved once again that good rock music will prevail over the awful entity that is mainstream radio. With their latest album, Rebuild, released on November 11, 2013, the band has cemented its status as an "up and coming", future arena-filling band. This is NOT poseur metal.

I'm not one to mince words. I like bands that sound heavy, loud, and if they're a little bit angry some of the time, even better. With Rebuild The Letter Black hit it out of the park. To the casual listener, this album may sound similar to the band's first offering Hanging On By A Thread. But to the rock and roll geek like me, nothing could be further from the truth. While their sound is still The Letter Black, Rebuild gives the listener a more well-rounded version of the band.

First off, Sarah Anthony's vocals on this album (I'm referring specifically to the angst-filled screams, which I so love) are kick-ass. On tracks like "Sick Charade", which is currently being played on Sirius/XM's Octane station, this is clearly apparent. The vocal harmonies and duets throughout the album are a thing of beauty, and remind the listener that sometimes two is indeed better than one. On tracks like "Break Out" the chemistry between Mark and Sarah is so rich that you feel like they've invaded your headphones and they're right there in your head.

But this is not just about screaming. Good rock'n'roll is more than that. Tracks like "Pain Killer" and "Found" offer the listener a little more reflective lyrics, but the killer riffs and haunting melody hypnotizes the listener and before you know it, you're singing along or drumming on your steering wheel - both tell-tale signs that this is great music.

As much as I like angry "scary" music (my mother-in-law's term, not mine), I also like bands that manage to give people a sense of hope. Rock'n'roll has saved as many lives as it has destroyed, and in my case it saved it, so I have a soft spot for music that can fuel someone's hope or help them through a difficult patch in their lives. The Letter Black does that on this record, and they do it so very well that you have to remind yourself that just a couple of songs ago, you were screaming along to "Sick Charade". In listening to songs like "Found", and their cover of Burn Halo's "Up From The Ashes" deliver those hopeful messages that in today's social media-infested world, are just plain refreshing to hear. They do it again and again on this album, and the Sarah's vocals are like butter on the other ballads "Outside Looking In", and "Shattered", but not so much so that they become limp, like so many other hard rock or metal ballads that try to "slow things down" and just plain put people to sleep.

The guitar work on Rebuild is what it should be for this type of album: hard, loud, and technically strong, without being too much or over the top with redundant solos. The basslines are crisp and tight, which is refreshing since a lot of bands these days just have that "boomy" kind of bass sound that kills the mix. The drumming is powerful yet it doesn't distract from the chemistry of the song when it shouldn't- another accomplishment.

Top to bottom, The Letter Black have put out an album that should stand the test of time, and should translate well live when they set out to rock stages across the continent on this winter's Snocore tour. Fans will be singing along to the very chorus-friendly songs in no time. Make no mistake, this band is likely to become one of the acts - once they're filling arenas like Skillet is -  that will make you look back at the Snocore tour and say "Wow, I can't believe they were a supporting band on that tour!"

This album is a worthy download and if you're in the United States, you can get it at Amazon for only $5! That's less than my latte cost me this morning. For an entire album of serious metal music? You'd be silly not to buy it right now and remind yourself that even in this world of smiling teenage idol mugshots, great music made by talented people still exists. You just have to read about it at Playing With Chaos. We find the gems for you so that you don't have to head down to the local bar to see your Uncle Bob's one man band play again this Saturday night.

We'll have an interview with the band coming up soon, so be sure to check back in with us because you won't want to miss reading it. Then you'll be able to sound cool at work when some hipster says "Have you heard of this great "new" group (I hate that term!) The Letter Black?". In the meantime, check the Snocore schedule and see when it rolls through your town to catch them live together with Heaven's Basement, Crobot, and The Pretty Reckless.

Check out The Letter Black on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.