letlive’s latest album ‘the blackest beautiful’ gives post-hardcore a much needed shot of fresh blood. #soundcheck

December 2, 2013

When The Refused predicted a future of hyper-aggressive, self-deconstructing, genre-spanning punk rock in The Shape of Punk to Come, tragically few took up their call. 15 years later, and a band has finally accepted the challenge. Letlive’s latest LP The Blackest Beautiful boldly mixes punk, hip-hop, post-hardcore, noise, and soul with politically and socially charged lyrics.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Album Stream:

The largely self-produced record is full of ear-bursting noise and surprising explosions of melody. Opening track “Banshee (Ghost Frame)” may be built for the open air festival pits Letlive calls home, but it’s the songs like “White America’s Beautiful Black Market” where the band stands out from this generation of Warped Tour post-hardcore acts. Taking a stand against the all-too-cozy relationship between the American Government and Corporate America, the song allows singer Jason Aalon Butler to combine his disparate influences.

It’s pretty common for the ouroboros of post-hardcore to pump out bands who sound like they listen exclusively to other post-hardcore acts. Letlive stands out as a band that isn’t afraid to mix some Stax soul into their sound, as on the percussion anchoring the standout “The Priest and Used Cars.” The Blackest Beautiful is the first truly unique post-hardcore album maybe in years. Though it suffers from an over-presence of auto-tune (as far as I’m concerned on a punk rock record, any auto-tune is too much), there’s an emotional honesty and sincere weirdness that’s tragically rare. The record closes with the epic “27 Club” in which Aalon Butler deconstructs his relationship with religion. Multiple vocals overlap over an alternate metal breakdown to convey his conflicting impulses. It’s a brilliant, simple touch to close out an album full of gestures as a subtle as a fist to the eye.

The Blackest Beautiful is out now on Epitaph. Stream it above!