The Letter Black “Rebuild” Album Review (Video)

Timothy YapNov 12, 2013 02:38 AM EST

The pitch black setting of their album cover with a zoomed in picture of an object is becoming a patented look for a Letter Black album.  While their last record featured a tainted white rose set in a dark background, this time around the object on the album's front is a re-constructed heart with all its nuts and bolts showing.  In many ways, the album cover is an apt synopsis of the album's content.  In a nocturnal world of begotten sins and brokenness, these 11 songs speak of God's power to heal, forgive and transform our hearts if we let Him.  Formed in 2006 by lead vocalist Sarah Anthony and her husband/guitarist Mark initially as a worship team, they slowly evolved into a full-fledged nu-metal rock band.  Later they added bassist Matt Beal and drummer Justin Brown to form a four person band.  After proving their merit on the road, they were signed to Tooth and Nail Records.  "Rebuild" is their third release if you don't count their remix album.

After a number of times the album has been pushed back due to the group's decision to cut more new songs, "Rebuild" is finally before us.  And the wait is definitely worth it; "Rebuild" is not only stock full of punchy metallic rock numbers but it also showcases the depths of its lyrics.  Sarah Anthony again shows that she's no bimbo nu-metal chic but her songs definitely get our heads swirling.  With a symphonic Gothic metallic soar and even some scary screams, the meaning of album opener "Sick Charade" resides in variegated levels.  On a cursory level, "Sick Charade" is a break-up song between a girl and her lying and cheating paramour.  But on a deeper level, the song speaks of the deceptive nature of how sin enslaves us.  Read in such a light, Anthony's resolve to disavow herself from the entanglements of sin is worth emulating: "If you don't know what we're fighting for/Then I won't follow anymore/Disappear, behind the mask you've made/My eyes are wide open now/I can see you through your sick charade."

In a culture where we are experts of delegating our responsibilities and not facing up to our fears, the urgent rocker "Break Out" is a must hear.  The single "Pain Killer" is top notched example of how the match making of melodic pop and metallic rock in marriage is possible.  The palm-muted power chords, the crunchy guitar extravagance and a sing along melody make "Pain Killer" one of their most accessible tracks on this disc.   Maybe it's because of Mark and Sarah's background as worship leaders in a church they have brought in a powerful form of worshipful balladry to the string laden ballad "Found."  "Found" and "Up from the Ashes" both deal with hope after we have all messed up in life.  Yet, the same theme is communicated in two polar opposite tunes.  While "Found" is a gentle ballad, "Up from the Ashes" is an apocalyptic ceiling blowing rock at its loudest.

Though the name of God is never explicitly mentioned, the title cut "Rebuild" is one of the most startlingly honest prayers of helpless before God.  Yet, it is in Sarah Anthony's desperate cry for God to rebuild the brokenness in her life, she has put on her lips some of the Letter Black's most spiritually stirring words: "Lift me up and tear me down/If that's what it takes to rebuild/Throwing out the broken pieces/And salvage what's left of my soul."  And for those of us who are privileged to hear this prayer, we can't help but say, "Amen." 



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