letlive. are one of those rare bands who appear to be the whole package. Whether they are writing songs that blend melody and insanity together in a concoction that is sweet yet sour, heavy yet gentle and all in all just simply intoxicating or taking the time smashing the shit out of things, in a very literal sense sometimes, in live shows which in my own experience bring audiences together in a way that few can do, they seem to do it perfectly. So quite frankly it’s a disgrace that I’ve taken this long to write up a review of The Blackest Beautiful. Particularly as it is without a doubt one of the albums of the year.
As “Banshee – Ghost Fame” hits in you are reminded what made you fall in love with this band to begin with and then just as you are remembering that they hit you with what they’ve learnt since. This song has so much bounce and energy that if you’re not bouncing around like an idiot by the end you may be dead inside. They’ve taken everything that was great about nu-metal bands like Papa Roach and inserted it into the madness and insanity that is letlive. When you throw in their secret weapon, Jason Aalon (he appears to now go by that rather than Butler? If someone knows more about that please comment and let me know) it is perfect. Aalon really is what makes this band and the number of front men that can compete with him at this point in time is small. It’s the way he blends melody and anger. The way his voice displays so much emotion and angst and then slips seamlessly into those huge choruses that have everyone singing along at the top of their voice. Quite frankly he is just flawless throughout, whether it be on the pure bounce of “That Fear Fever” the disjointed chaos of “Dreamers Disease” or the slower melodic “Virgin Dirt” he is just fantastic.
That’s not to say the rest of the band can be put to the way side and forgotten, because they are just as important to this band. Lionel Robinson, who is appearing for the first time on album, having only joined the band earlier this year, holds everything together with his intricate drumming without which everything would surely fall apart. While the twin guitar attack of Jean Nascimento and Jeff Sahyoun is constantly challenging and exciting. Their switches between angular disjointed playing and more slow melodic beauty is what keeps you guessing with these songs and they are a major part of making everything sound as huge as it does. Meanwhile the shocking lyrics are unlikely to make friends in some places but work all the more with Aalon’s emotion drenched voiced as you begin to genuinely believe that he is telling the truth as he sings “I’d rather be dead” on “Phermone Cvlt”. While him signing out at the end of “27 Club” by saying “And that’s the lesson for today boys and girl. Ladies and gentlemen I’ve been your presenter, your entertainer, your example. So it’s about time I go and take my own life. I’m just fucking with you haha, oh shit.” Is the perfect ending as it allows you to become even more immersed in his almost preacher-esque character.
This album is just bloody brilliant to be honest. I could sit and try and find something wrong with it to make this a more balanced review but I don’t want to because it just makes me want to hug people and then headbut them and then hug them again. If like me you left it late to check this shit out then sort yourself out and I promise you won’t regret it.
For fans of: Refused, Gallows
Choice Cuts: “Younger”, “That Fear Fever”, all of it.