You gotta love the raw energy of the post-hardcore genre. It stems from the heavy grit of hardcore punk, a genre so volatile it spawned bands like Dead Swans, Cruel Hand, Comeback Kid, Down To Nothing, and (it’s impossible not to mention a few of the underground ones too, along with the boisterous enthusiasm that they deserve. You can imagine that part.) Bracewar, Blkout, and Expire, all to grow addicted to in the 21st century. An enormous list will follow if we don’t move on…
letlive. have not lost the raw edge, as they go out of their way to show us in the opening track ‘Banshee (Ghost Fame)’ in which we hear the diabolical tape quality that millions of bands in the punk genre have had to use to prove themselves, right before the here and now explodes in our faces. What follows is an intense opening track, pulling you down into the madness. And it doesn’t stop there.
In some regards, post-hardcore can be even more manic than hardcore punk, and letlive. are one such example. This album, like their others, is wild from start to finish. It flips you upside down, throws you a mile, and then drags you through the dirt to do it all again. Those drums…f***ing hell! And Butler’s vocals deliver something really special this time.
Fans of 2010’s ‘Fake History’ will be pleasantly surprised to hear that they haven’t lost a shred of emotion, in fact, the harmony that’s piled on at some moments will be a treat and a half. In ‘Empty Elvis’ the mood flips second by second, from ferocious to tender to aggressive melody, and in ‘The Dope Beat’ an entire platform of pace and emotion is constructed. Then there’s surprising gems like ‘That Fear Fever’, which has allsorts going on, including an insane drumbeat that almost sounds electronic.
Most of the tracks get you out of breath, but along comes ‘Virgin Dirt’. It’s pretty all over the place, but in amongst the others this is a game-changer, bristling with ambiguous lyrics. Perhaps not the most addictive song for those who are routing for the heavy stuff, but an interesting and methodical track nonetheless. And ’27 Club’ is impressive on its own, packing every beat conceivable into seven and a half minutes, ending the experience with a bang and a fizzle.
‘The Blackest Beautiful’ chooses its root and sticks to it, serving you portion after portion of the same old goods, similar to what Cancer Bats did with debut, and (in this listener’s opinion) best album, and that’s admirable in a world overrun with bands stretching away from their genre for the sake of diversity and the epic – you all know who you are.
This album won’t change the face of music, but it will be loved and replayed by the fans for a long while. Wooh!