By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
As many readers of Uncivil Revolt are aware, I am both a devout Christian and devout metalhead. For me, it is so rewarding to know that both of those worlds can merge together and not only spread a good message, but can also be totally gnarly. Some of my favorite Christian rock/metal acts are Skillet, Phinehas, August Burns Red, Wage War, and For Today to name a few. There is one Christian hard rock group that has preserved in the treacherous waters of the music business. They are known as The Letter Black. Formed by a husband/wife duo, Sarah (lead vocals) and Mark Anthony (lead guitar), this band has a combo punch that consists of nu metal, Christian hard rock, and alternative metal. It has been 4 years since their last release, but The Letter Black is ready to preach to the rock ‘n’ roll congregation with their new album, Pain. Church is back in session.
Like another Christian rock record, all the songs deal with struggles in the world and turning to the Lord for direction. However, The Letter Black approaches this subject very convincingly just like the way Skillet does it. They disguise their meaning of hope with raw and meaty rock grooves. Sarah is a singer of many layers. She can sing like an angel (“Alive”), and like a badass chick with attitude (“Breathe”). I even enjoyed her screaming into the mic with fury when comes to the songs “Fear,” and “I Am.”
Her husband, Mark, rips through each solo with such drive. His best works come from “Rock’s Not Dead” and “Rise From the Dead.” Bassist Matt Beal is a stellar with his licks, giving each tune a crunchy beat. Pain is the first album to feature new drummer, Justin Brown, who is the catalyst the group truly needed behind the kit. Their first single, “Last Day That I Cared,” has been well received and will become one of their newest signature songs. They saved the best for last with the over 7 minute rock ballad, “Holding On.” Sarah’s voice on the song is enchanting and evocative at the same time. I understand what is like to barely hold on and keep moving forward. This tune represents a piece of mind that everyone struggles and as long as one has faith, nothing will stop you permanently. It sounded like there was a small orchestra in the background, which makes the song that, much sweeter.
The Letter Black brings to the mass an album that everyone can enjoy. It features really heavy songs as well as a couple charming ballads that serenades the listener’s spirit. Pain is one of rare gems that shine brightly in the music world. In efforts to be able to make this record, they started a Kickstarter campaign, in order to raise funds to record these superlative songs. The fans heed the call and gladly helped out the band. It is not just for Christian rock lovers, but for all fans of hard rock and heavy metal. Hopefully, they will get on the road soon enough because I want to hear these songs live and feel the Holy Spirit enter inside me from the first riff to the last chord. To The Letter Black, I salute you. Horns up!!! 8.8/10.