A Stellar Rock Release | Posted May 08, 2010 Staff Reviewer
The Letter Black, formerly known as Breaking The Silence, has slowly been making a name for themselves over the past few years. After releasing an indie album and changed their name, they released the Breaking The Silence EP which got them some attention and the honor to open for one of Christian Rock's greats, Skillet, on their Awake and Alive Tour.
Now The Letter Black is finally releasing their debut full-length record under Tooth and Nail records. From the opening riffs of "Fire With Fire", you know you're in for an intense and enjoyable music experience. The album is not perfect by any means and there is plenty that the band can improve upon when it comes time to record their next album, but for what it is, this album is great.
The album opens with the intense "Fire with Fire" which is a bit cliche but sounds good. "Invisible" really kicks things up and provides a great rock track with slower vocals and intense music. The title track is next and is likely the most recognizable of the band's songs, having been their debut Christian Rock single, and also being one of the three tracks carried over from their Breaking The Silence EP. It is a good song, nothing groundbreaking, but great nonetheless.
"Believe" is next and it surprises the listening with a stringed opening that calls to mind influences from Skillet, even if it isn't done quite as skillfully. As for the track itself, it's excellent. Good message and good tune.
"There'll Come A Day" is the album's first ballad. It's a catchy and upbeat track that is well worth it's place on the album.
"My Disease" and "I'm Just Fine" are definitely album highlights. Lyrically, they don't deviate too much from The Letter Black's theme of leaving the bad things of our past behind us, so they are not particularly innovative, but they both just sound good. It's hard to fault songs that are just so good.
Next up is "Best of Me", the other single released to radio and also a song from their EP. The song opens with a quiet string melody and picks up into a strong and upbeat rock ballad.
"All I Want" follows next. This track may be recognizable who have seen the band on tour with Skillet. The song marks the first time on the album that lead singer Sarah Anthony lets out screams, and not just during the post-second verse bridge but several times during the song. If you like that, then this song(along with the intense closing rocker, "Wounded) will be for you.
"Moving On" is the last track from the EP. I was never that big a fan of this song and would've preferred something new, but it's a good track nonetheless.
"More To This" is the final ballad on the album. It's lyrically relevant, if a big awkward and cliche at times, but the music makes up for it.
"Care Too Much" and the aforementioned "Wounded" round out the album. The former is a strong rock track with some screaming in the bridge but all in all a song very similar to the rockers that preceded it. But it's still a good song. The latter song closes out the album in an intense fashion, sure to satisfy hard rock fans.
So that's The Letter Black's debut. It's not that original or groundbreaking. But it sounds good, very good. A certain website that I shall not name seems to like slamming the band for lack of originality but I feel that is unfair. They are just starting out and for a newer band, they sound terrific. I could easily see The Letter Black being as good as Skillet in a few years. The duet vocals of lead singer Sarah Anthony and her husband Mark Anthony work well together, and the mix is much more prominent on this album than on the EP, although Mark doesn't get his own songs as he did on their indie album. But still, it's more than enough to set them apart from the other female-fronted rock bands in the industry, Fireflight and Flyleaf. Some may try to compare those bands to this one, but I think the sound is definitely distinct enough to help this band stand on their own merits.
So don't listen to that site, this album is good. If you like this type of music, I highly recommend this album. It's not an instant classic or the best rock debut in recent history, but it's a great and enjoyable listen. The Letter Black is definitely a band to keep your eye on in the coming years. While this release may fall a little short of epic, the potential is there and I feel it in my gut that The Letter Black is just a few steps away from blowing away audiences with an epic rock album. Until then, Hanging On By A Thread serves as a great rock album to provide us with some enjoyable, intense rock music that properly introduces us to a terrific new band that may well one day become a force in the Christian Rock industry.