The Blackest Beautiful review by letlive.

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  • Released: Jul 9, 2013
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (27 votes)
letlive.: The Blackest Beautiful

Sound — 10
Letlive. is a quartet from Los Angeles that specializes in post-hardcore. And these guys truly are hardcore, with a live show on a level rivaling or exceeding that of The Dillinger Escape Plan. For clips, I recommend this:

YouTube preview picture
This is the first review of a CD where I included a link to live footage of the band. So, obviously, the live component of this band, most notably its energy, is paramount to the understanding of this album. This brand of sheer, unfiltered, pure energy is easy to see in this album. To put it plainly, you'd better be in the right mood in order to listen to this album because at many points, the energy can be overwhelming, especially the screams. Yes, I did just say that this album has too much energy. Take that however you want because it can translate to many different effects depending on the listener and his/her mood. The screams are everywhere and they sometimes mask the superb instrumentation and lyrics, which are hardly intelligible, though this can just serve to add to the overall effect of the vocals to begin with. This effect, of course, is just energy. This energy is not AC/DC fast-heartbeat energy but more of a run around randomly, almost like a mosh pit, energy. Once I got past this onslaught of energy, I found the experimental experimentation present on the album. Granted that the experimentation isn't the most extreme in the world, it is still interesting to see within the post-hardcore genre. As experimental albums usually are, this album is incredibly varied across the different songs though the vocal delivery is the same for the most part. From the beats of the intro and outro of "The Dope Beat" to the drumming present 0:55 seconds into "That Fear Fever," this album is brimming with creativity that can satisfy those of us who can't accept the energy as the be-all-end-all of the album. This level of creativity and variety in material is on a level I have never heard before from a band that is distinctly post-hardcore. They even managed to slip in a blues riff at the beginning of "27 Club" and a children's choir in the middle of "Pheromone Cvlt." While there are no guitar solos, maybe one, the guitars still play very interesting parts that I couldn't fully grasp from the cursory listen I have so far given this album. If there's one thing that's for sure is that, like everything else on the album, they are geared towards energy and a live experience, thereby demanding that layering is off the table. While I'm sure it's there, it isn't important enough as to make the songs unplayable by two guitarists on stage. I can hardly tell what the drums are doing in the obscurity that is caused by the power of everything around them, just going to show that it is hard to pay attention when listening to this album. The reason is that you're moving too much to care. Of course, it could also be due to the crude production quality of the album that doesn't really subtract to the album because it lends itself to the idea of unadulterated energy. In any event, when the drums are left with a relatively blank canvas to work with, they shine. Honestly, there is so much good material on here that anyone who can stand post-hardcore to begin with should find something to his or her liking. In other words, if you like it loud, then this is the party to join.

Lyrics — 7
For many, the vocals will be the draw of this album. For me, they weren't. While I understand that Jason Butler's propensity for screams helps the energy of the album, there is only so much worth sacrificing for the sake of energy. With his screams, he silences (oxymoron) his lyrics, which I believe to be insightful and unique. For example, "27 Club": "And once you're gone, they'll realize death is the only way To die for your cause is the most effective way to propagate Make me a martyr make sure the books they read my name A gun to my head, a hair trigger with the worst of aim Flirting with death, but I'm married to my selfish ways See, I'd die for something, but then I wouldn't get to see the fame To be a martyr you mustn't die a death in vain I'd kill myself, but suicide is so clich Heavenly father, does heaven have a place for me or will I get there only to learn St. Peter has misplaced the key? Right down the middle polarity right down the middle That's where we'll meet them all." "Virgin Dirt": "We kiss with tongue and cheek and burn the witches in our beds Wrap vacant stakes in sheets, accuse monogamy instead I tried to catch the beat and do the dance of marionette Can't groove to my heartbeat since rhythm stops when you are dead." "Younger": "We've got millions of broken necks from looking up at you So get your damn soapbox standing, high horse prancing ass down here with the truth So don't let those admirers try and fit your shoes Because they will then see one size fits all feet and then they will walk all over you When only to good die young Ain't it ironic I age so well [x2]" Aside from the screams, Butler manages to incorporate rap with typical hardcore vocals and many different chorus melodies to boot. Honestly, a great showing by Butler, but the screams didn't pan out well with me.

Overall Impression — 9
Despite all of the compliments I and many other reviewers have given to this album, it still didn't strike the ultimate chord with me. Despite all of the compliments, I think I may stop listening to this in a couple of days. While it's classic in description, something just doesn't scream classic as the classics do. "Back in Black," "Moving Pictures," "Led Zeppelin IV," "...And Justice for All." Each of these classic albums just has some feel, some element that I can't find in this album, and therefore, I can't give it as high a rating. However, considering everything I said about this album, I'll let the crowd decide. But please, can someone start running around in circles with me? And of course, Jason Butler.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Amazing album. My album of the year (no small feat in a year of The Raven That Refused to Sing, Sempiternal, and One of us is the Killer). Sad I missed their set at Warped Tour but I met Jason after and he was super cool and he signed my copy.
    Class album So much energy live as well. Butler did crowd surf his way to the stage when playing download a couple years ago. And the whole band did jump security when they tried to stop him from going on stage.
    It's hard to deny Jason Butler's energy at live concerts judging by the video above About album - despite the fact that I'm not a fan of the post-hardcore, this album is really interesting. In any case, it's something original - and a breath of fresh air for the genre as a whole.
    Just listened to the "Fake History" album - I think it's better and more emotional (and less pop-oriented) than "The Blackest Beautiful" - but it's just me. I mean "The Blackest Beautiful" is more creative in terms of musicianship, but "Fake History" is more sincere and personal.
    music salvation
    I would have to respectfully disagree with your later statement. While "The Blackest Beautiful" overall is a very politically charged record, tracks like "Dreamer's Disease" and "Virgin Dirt" are still just as deeply introspective and personal as anything from "Fake History." I would argue that they are equals. Each record was ground-breaking in the way it both defined and defied the post-hardcore genre.
    The only song I really liked on Fake History was Over Being Under. Is there a similar song on this album that could help get me into it?
    Sam Rulez D00d
    I've seen these guys 4 times and they bring it live every time. The energy of their live show really gets captured in the record. ll.ove it 10/10
    i haven't heard it yet, but i saw these guys live and they do incorporate a lot of energy to their live shows
    Still not too sure about these guys. I saw them live and hated them. The singer is an ass and smashed up one of the guitars and was running around and wrecking the stage
    How is that being an ass? He is bringing back that hardcore mentality that many bands seem to not have nowadays...
    Anyone who wrecks stages is an ass in my book. There's nothing hardcore about that. It's pathetic.
    I love how they're bringing back post-hardcore to a good level. Not that Sleeping With Sirens/Pierce the Veil/Hands Like Houses crap. Great review btw.
    I just listened to the new HLH record, and its actually great. Wish I could edit this comment now...
    That poor man ripped his pants from being too crazy! Seriously though, its definitely an improvement from Fake History. More of the songs stand out, where as on the last album a lot of the middle tracks got lost in the mix. Great band!