Words escape me when it comes to this album. Prior to this release, Letlive have caused chaos wherever they have graced, from an audience of thousands of Kerrang! readers (after vocalist Aaron Butler was named rockstar of the year) to tiny venues out in the middle of nowhere, where they literally rip places apart. This album is no different, though it’s caused a rift between fans from taking a softer, more experimental venture away from its hardcore punk roots.
Haunting opening track Banshee seems to hole every element hardcore fans would be seen twostepping aimlessly to, before groovily plunging into a funky off-beat tempo with – would you believe it – melodic and soulful singing amongst the spine tingling screams and thrashes of vocals entwined with metallic guitars and drums. Empty Elvis brings the visceral quality we love them for back to the forefront with a twist, it has vocals that wouldn’t seem out of place in a metalcore, or even heavy metal band at points of clarity within, they seem so out of place with the almost frightening breakdown but they work so well together all the same.
White America’s Black Market brings back the bongos heavily heard throughout Fake History amongst rapping and a reggae feel with tambourines, maracas and grinding guitars bringing a weirdly summery and soft feel to the album. I know, strange right? It gets weirder with auto-tuned psychedelic vocals and rapping from Butler himself, but it’s brilliant.
Spine chilling gems off the album come in the form of Dreamers Disease and Pheremone Cvlt with the former displaying metallic vocals with soft humming juxtaposed to steely, brutal instruments and the latter starting psychedelically with off-putting synth and a strange acoustic, mariachi edge before plunging into a strange mix of Glass Jaw and Linkin Park-lite with brooding instrumentals, notably drums with the tinkling of cymbals adding to the odd aura before jumping into life.
Personal favourite Virgin Dirt starts with an indie-alternative rock edge with grungy guitars and fast-paced drums before dual vocals and Arabian bazaar music sound in an ethereal mix creating an utterly flawless mash of artists putting different elements of their passions and careers into the limelight.
Closing track 27 Club goes back to their roots with a ballzy hardcore edge ending the album on the boom they are known for bringing both musically, and literally on stage. Despite this, it shows progression with experimental instrumentals and melody, seriously, it is melodic as hell and a perfect end to the start of their new direction.
For a band that is known to push the boundaries, they really have outdone themselves this time – without scaling stages or breaking their audience/themselves in the process. This album is hard to put into words, a genre escapes me really and that is what is so groundbreaking about it, there won’t be another album like it for a very long time. It is a diamond that has came out of a lump of pebbles; it’s a masterpiece.