There are albums which you can have on in the background playing in an inoffensive and unobtrusive way, and then there are albums that demand your complete concentration and attention. The Blackest Beautiful is one from the latter category. With mostly positive reviews for their second studio opus Fake History, a certain level of expectation must have weighed on this L.A. based crew’s shoulders as they unleashed this third instalment to their catalogue of music.
Launching the audio assault is first single Banshee (Ghost Fame) which twists and turns with spiky observation, and the flow thereafter isn’t disrupted. There’s a tasty slowing of pace for the main hook in White America’s Beautiful Black Market but this doesn’t detract from the quality on show. Throughout The Blackest Beautiful, Jason Aalon Butler is spitting venom one moment and then rolling words out like a conveyor belt on the factory floor the next, and with sublime turn of phrase can sweetly massage the ears with melancholy or reflection. One of the secret weapons within their arsenal that propel Letlive to the upper reaches of the league table of progressive post-hardcore.
Listen to That Fear Fever (complete with a measured time change), Virgin Dirt (with a restrained yet intense framework which then explodes) or Younger (session drummer Christopher Crandall delivering a great performance) which showcase examples of the varying textures Letlive bring to the table.
Once you reach the final song 27 Club, your ears are yearning for a break from the relentless frantic expression, or they are celebrating a tight and compelling exhibition. There are moments of narrative accompanied by some bass and soft percussion which are reminiscent of Rage against the Machine which breaks up the stabbing rhythm section and onslaught during the epic 27 Club.
Approach with caution if unfamiliar, or rejoice in the return if you’ve heard Letlive before.
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