Hanging On By a Thread
The Letter Black’s first full-length project follows the path laid down by their 2009 debut EP, leading them squarely into Evanescence/Flyleaf territory. Goth torment blends with Christian reverence to create a hard, seething sound long on table-saw guitar riffs and keening, minor key melodies. Singer Sarah Anthony’s angst-filled vocals bring out the urgency of the quartet’s lyrics, augmented at times by husband/guitarist Mark Anthony’s screamo-slanted background vocals. Evil often takes the form of toxic boyfriends in these songs — tunes like “My Disease,” “Care Too Much” and “All I Want” trace the scars of tormented relationships. Conversely, yearning expressions like “There’ll Come a Day” and “Invisible” can be taken as paeans to God or a distant earthly lover. Balancing this lyric ambiguity is the album’s emphasis on muscular rock, leavened at times by folk-influenced tracks like the string-draped “Best of Me.” The Letter Black prefers capturing moments of conflict over spiritual reflection, as the smoldering anger within “Fire With Fire” and “Wounded” shows.